— Village residents say still too much focus on road widening.
— Cycling campaigners express concern over junction designs.
Consultation for BusConnects’ infrastructure element, the Core Bus Corridor Projects, is to run until this Wednesday, December 16.
The National Transport Authority plan includes 230km of bus priority and 200km of cycle routes.
“If BusConnects goes ahead, we’ll have a wider road and narrower footpaths unfortunately. We’re getting the motorway treatment. Phibsborough will be the traffic nightmare it is for years to come,” said Rothar, a bicycle shop in Phibsboro.
Rothar has come together with other businesses and residents under the name ‘Beyond the Junction’ to call for footpath widening rather than road widening in Phibsboro.
In the group’s submission, they said: “Despite low car ownership in our area, our neighbourhood has been forced to shoulder the external consequences of people driving from greener, quieter, cleaner suburbs through Phibsborough.”
“The road design outside our houses prevents us from socialising outdoors within our neighbourhood, from crossing the streets safely, and prevents our kids from cycling to school. People travelling through the area have been prioritised over the people living in it for the past 40 years,” the group said.
It said that it is “extremely disappointing (and contrary to the objectives of BusConnects) to see that the plan prioritises people travelling by car, instead of encouraging a safe, continuous cycle route on the main road. The Phibsborough village had deteriorated because of the sheer volumes of cars going through it: it will continue to do so if the road capacity for motor traffic is not reduced.”
It added: “The current plan for BusConnects follows the model of ‘predict & provide’. This model is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and is extremely outdated. By predicting a lot of cars, roads are built for them, and more people will use their cars because roads have been provided. This needs to be re-evaluated urgently. The plan does not cater for the Phibsborough community at all (people drive through the area, not to it), or the city or commuters as a whole. By giving so much space to cars, drivers get stuck in congestion, cyclists negotiate very hostile streets and roads, pedestrians inhale more pollutants. Not a single road user benefits from such a plan, including drivers.”
Separately, the Dublin Cycling Campaign has expressed serious concerns about the designs being proposed for major traffic junctions across Dublin as part of the BusConnects project.
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Campaigners have said that the National Transport Authority has developed “its own unique layout” for junctions and that they “are worried that best practice international designs for cycling junctions are being ignored”.
“Ireland is several decades behind the likes of Denmark and the Netherlands in terms of cycling infrastructure and we should be looking to those countries for inspiration,” says Kevin Baker, Dublin Cycling Campaign Chairperson. “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel instead of following proven international standards.”
Ellen Cullen, Vice Chairperson of Dublin Cycling Campaign says, “BusConnects represents a unique opportunity to enable thousands of people who don’t currently cycle to get on their bikes in a safe and attractive environment, suitable for all ages and abilities. There is no evidence that these experimental junction designs will create such an environment.”