Proposed bus services for Stepaside, Ballyogan remain ‘limited’, says council

Here is a copy of an article in the Irish Times today

Proposed bus services for Stepaside and Ballyogan in south county Dublin remain “limited”, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has said.

The council has asked the National Transport Authority (NTA) to “reconsider” the level of services for the areas under the latest BusConnects plans.

The deadline for submissions in relation to the bus network redesign proposals was Tuesday.

“The proposed provision for the growth areas of Stepaside and Ballyogan and environs is improved, but remains limited,” the council’s submission said.

It said the area has grown and will “continue to grow rapidly”. “The proposed level of service would be insufficient to avoid the establishment of unsustainable commuting routines by new residents of the area. Again, the council asks you to reconsider,” it added.

The council’s submission was prepared by its municipal service department in consultation with the planning department and the infrastructure and climate change department.

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said its support for the “generality of the BusConnects proposals” remains and that many of the issues it had raised in the previous round of public consultation “have been well addressed”.

The council also said the lack of bus priority on orbital routes “remains a concern” but added that this should be dealt with under the core bus corridors project.

BusConnects aims to overhaul the bus system in the Dublin region by creating 230km of dedicated bus lanes and 200km of cycle tracks along 16 of the busiest corridors and a redesign of the network.

The NTA says the plans promise faster journey times and a high-frequency service on busy routes and an easy-to-understand network. The network redesign is due to be implemented over a phased basis between 2021 and 2023.

The council said the implementation of the proposals “may be difficult, especially at an operational level”.

“However, I am confident that the proposed network redesign and the wider BusConnects proposals will make a major contribution to alleviating traffic congestion, improving air quality, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” it concluded.

Separately, Fine Gael TD Noel Rock said in his submission to the NTA that its brochure/leaflet information campaign, “while laudable in its ambition and scale, ended up being an absolute pain”. Every household and business in the greater Dublin area was due to receive a local area brochure from the NTA outlining the proposals for their area.

The Dublin North West TD said at a public meeting he held on December 2nd, “two thirds of the attendees had – at that stage- not received a booklet”.

“While I admire the intent, it’s clear that it didn’t work out, and this has proven problematic,” he added.

Mr Rock said a point worth considering is where the new plans broadly overlap with current bus routes they should be renamed “to resemble existing services” where possible.

“I think there’s a lot to be said for trying to ease the transition where possible, and I think this would assist in bridging the gap between old and new,” he said.

Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell said in her submission there needs to be “some hard data” put forward by the NTA to show the plan’s promised benefits.

The Dublin Bay South TD said many of her constituents are not opposed to specific aspects of BusConnects but they don’t have “much trust in the system to function for them at rush hour regardless of what changes might be made”.

Ms O’Connell said she receives correspondence daily from commuters “who cannot get buses during rush hour as capacity is simply far below where it needs to be”.© 2019

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