I am a cyclist, pedestrian, motorist, bus user and public representative in the areas covered by this bus corridor; Navan Road, Cabra, Stoneybatter and Phibsborough.
I support the mission of BusConnects which is to deliver more efficient transport times for bus users, a safer travel environment for cyclists and improve pedestrian infrastructure.
I am also supportive of the concept of do no major harm and in that context, I am alarmed at the intention to proceed with the closure to general traffic of the Old Cabra Road. Another solution must be found and consideration must be given to a timed bus gate to apply for evening hours only.
The negative spillover to small residential roads in Cabra, Phibsborough and off the Navan Road is simply not acceptable, with draft modelling appearing to suggest the combined traffic flows from changes within the Ballymun Bus Corridor and Blanchardstown Bus Corridor will lead to an additional circa 600 cars in Connaught Street in the morning peak period by 2028. The impact on Charleville Road, Avondale Road and Monck Place as relief roads will be circa 300 cars, while the estimated increased traffic flow on Nephin road is up to 200 cars in the morning peak period. Furthermore, Annamoe terrace is expected to take another 200 cars.
For the most part, these are small and narrow residential streets that not designed to take significant increases in the volume of traffic. The changes proposed effectively attempt to pit the desire for faster travel times from city bound users coming from the west with the pedestrian and cycle safety of those living on the roads taking the brunt of the diverted traffic.
For Stoneybatter I want to acknowledge the positive modifications have been made to earlier proposals. However, the case for a 24 hour bus gate at the bottom of Prussia Street is not well made, the upheaval created by the one way systems will be dramatic in terms of travel times and I believe that there is a strong local appetite to introduce a timed bus gate at peak travel times to allow a better balance between the interests of the bus travelling public and local residents.
For the Navan Road, the introduction of a continuous and segregated cycle track on both sides of the road is very welcome. However, the impact from the changes to the natural environment with the removal of approximately 150 trees is excessive. The removal exacerbates the concept of the Navan Road as a commuter thoroughfare and fails to recognise that first and foremost it must be recognised as an urban residential setting. I ask the NTA to seriously consider a planting programme of mature trees along both sides of the Navan Road.
For Cabra and Phibsborough: the diversion at Cabra cross will mean a significant increase in traffic flows on narrow, densely populated residential roads. These flows arise from two bus corridors changes; Blanchardstown and Ballymun and it is vital that the twin effects are considered together and not separately. It must be highlighted that there are five primary schools that are located off the Connaught Street and Faussagh Avenue thoroughfare and there are efforts ongoing to establish a cycle bus there. Already the thoroughfare is quite hostile to pedestrians and cyclists given the existing volume of traffic on these roads. Any child friendly cycle initiative will be extremely difficult to sustain if the increased flows materialise as projected.
I’m conscious that the NTA has indicated to that they will start work separately on developing cycle lanes on the Cabra Road and North Circular Road next year and this is very much to be welcomed. However, these will be not be alternatives to existing cycle travel and we need to ensure that we do not make worse routes currently in use, by a high number of children and local residents, by foot and by bike.
The case to lift the no- right turn and no-left turn at St Peter’s church is not well made in the proposal document and there is considerable concern about pedestrian safety and increased congestion in front of St Peter’s church if these changes were to go ahead. In particular, lifting the no-right turn from the Cabra Road will involve considerable traffic sequencing changes at that junction.