Bus Connects Submission – Cllr. Marie Baker
I commend the NTA for this review of the bus services provided in Dublin, I feel that this review is long overdue. This draft review has a number of suggestions that are worthwhile, though there are some routes in my area where changes are suggested that would cause severe issues for my constituents.
I attended the NTA workshop in May 2017 in the Royal Marine in Dun Laoghaire. This was useful for understanding the thought process behind the draft review. I also attended the public consultation days held in Stillorgan & Dun Laoghaire. My observations on the public consultation process are as follows:-
- I am usually good at reading maps but it was difficult to work out the road names and as such orientate oneself. The maps only show districts not road names. I had the advantage of receiving a set of maps so I could closely compare the current and proposed maps side by side. I observed members of the public having difficulty reading the maps at the public consultation sessions.
- I’d like to compliment both the NTA and Dublin Bus staff for their courtesy and engagement at the public consultation sessions.
- Though the bus shelter campaign drew some attention to the public consultation process, it highlighted inconsequential items such as bus numbering etc and as such I’d don’t believe that the public picked up on the proposed major changes to their bus routes until public representatives started highlighting the changes. I delivered hundreds of leaflets in my area encouraging the public to engage with the review.
Comments on route changes in the Blackrock electoral Ward
I will confine my comments to proposed changes within my electoral ward of Blackrock.
- I am pleased to see that Blackrock town is designated as a transport hub. However, there is no detail on how this hub scenario will work. Currently we have the dart line/railway station corridor, then there are the bus routes that use Main Street, Newtown Avenue and Temple Road to traverse the town and then there are the bus routes that use the Frascati Road/Blackrock by-pass corridor. These three corridors don’t intersect at any one point, they mostly run parallel to one another. So where will the hub be sited? My preference would be somewhere on Main Street/Center of the town. The Blackrock Local Area Plan includes a suggestion to link the car park in front of the railway station with Main Street by a lift/movable stairway, maybe this suggestion could be explored further.
- The removal of the bus routes along Newtown Avenue is regrettable as these routes service access to the church and library and are a great resource for the local elderly population. The existing route map ignores the fact that the 7 route sometimes uses this roadway.
- The new route 7 seems to be routed along the by-pass Frascati Road rather than entering Blackrock town/Main Street. This will be a lost to the town of Blackrock.
- I welcome the increased frequency on the S6/S7 (replacing the current 17).
- The current 114 route remains the same until it reached the junction of Carysfort Avenue and Fleurville Road. However the new 227 route then takes a sharp left turn at this junction instead of turning at the next junction at Newtownpark. I would be concerned that the left turn into Fleurville Road may be too tight for a bus, as it is a difficult turn in a small car. This new 227 route then continues along Fleurville Road, Benamore Road towards Baker’s Corner, unlike the 114 that uses Newtownpark Avenue heading towards White’s Cross and onward. Traditionally, the residents of the estates along Newtownpark Avenue, including Marian Park, Fairyhill, Ardmeen, Ardagh, Pine Lawn, Hollypark and Granville would use the 114 to travel to Blackrock where they would shop, do their banking, use the post office and also visit the library. The new route S8 comes from Dun Laoghaire not Blackrock. There is a very elderly population in all the aforementioned estates. The 114 also brings them to Blackrock where they can link with bus routes going towards St Vincent’s Hospital. The new plan would require that they take three buses in order to get to St Vincent’s.
- If I am reading the maps correctly the current 84 route will be replaced by the 226 with increased frequency.
- The most controversial change in the review is the scraping of the 4 route for the people of Monkstown/Deansgrange area. This route is used to go to work in town, get to Blackrock for shopping etc. go to St. Vincent’s Hospital and the Blackrock Clinic. I met many distressed women at the public consultation in Dun Laoghaire who told me how this change would impact very negatively on their lives. Since the 4 route was implemented some years ago it has provided a frequent reliable route for the people of Monkstown/Deansgrange. This change needs to be reversed as the 226 route linking to Blackrock is not frequent enough
- The current linkage from Blackrock town/railway to Sandyford on the 114 route will disappear. There will be no direct link from the DART in Blackrock to Sandyford which is a major location of employment in the area.
- The new 225 from Dun Laoghaire to Dundrum is welcome. However the current infrequent route that starts outside Guardian Angels Church on Newtownpark Avenue,( I think it is a 7 with a letter) is not shown on the existing map even though I think there are two buses into the city in the morning and one home in the evening. This route is used by students going to Coláiste Eoin and Íosagáin and Muckross College. Students will now need to change buses in Stillorgan to get to school.
- To end on a positive note, I welcome the Blackrock to Merrion Core Bus Corridor (bus and cycle infrastructure) proposed reduction in journey times from the current 30 minutes to 13-15 minutes.
I know that the NTA will have a large volume of work to consider the submissions made during the public consultation. I do hope that before any changes are implemented or any redrafting of routes takes place that another round of public consultation will take place.