Residents near a proposed Bus Connects corridor in South Dublin have been warned the resulting road disruption will not deliver any meaningful amount of extra buses.
The claims were made during an online consultation convened by local representatives after a previous in-person meeting was overwhelmed by demand, leaving many people outside.
Those living on or near the planned 10km bus route on the Templeogue/Rathfarnham-city centre corridor have expressed unease about disruption and how the works will ultimately affect their road use.
“The first [fundamental misrepresentation] is that there is going to be extra buses. I believe there won’t be any extra buses in the aggregate around the southwest city,” said Brendan Heneghan of the Terenure West Residents’ Association during a 15-minute address, based on his study of plans currently under review by An Bord Pleanála.
According to Mr Heneghan, while there would be a slight increase on the Rathgar and Rathmines Roads, the changes would deliver a poor service on the Harold’s Cross Road.
“It would be wrong to think that you are getting any extra buses for putting up with the inconvenience of this,” he said.
At least 250 people registered for the recent meeting which was co-hosted by councillors Anne Feeney and James Geoghegan, and Senator Mary Seery Kearney.
Several areas of concern relate to the reconstitution of existing roadways, displaced traffic, local access, compulsory purchase orders of property and the felling of trees.
“You need to give consideration to the possibility of your estate becoming a rat-run in the mornings,” Senator Seery Kearney said, describing the effects of road changes in one particular area.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) declined to comment on the various claims, with its plans currently under review by the planning appeals authority.
Bus Connects is a programme aimed at transforming bus services in Ireland’s five largest cities and includes new transport corridors, bus stops, ticketing systems and a complete redesign of the network.
The Templeogue/Rathfarnham corridor is one of 12, nine of which have been submitted to An Bord Pleanála with three more anticipated in June. Construction is due to being on the corridors in 2025 pending planning approval.
Separately, four phases of the Bus Connects network redesign, which includes routes, schedules, and timetables, have been implemented affecting numerous areas of Dublin and Kildare.
Cllr Geoghegan said it was regrettable residents had to pay €50 to make their thoughts known by way of a submission to An Bord Pleanála, with a looming deadline of June 20th.
However, it was Mr Heneghan who offered the more detailed overview of what the planned upheaval could mean for various surrounding suburbs and areas.
“Most residents’ groups in the area who are focused on this have realised long ago that this bus plan is a bit of a disaster,” he said.
He questioned whether the corridor could actually deliver on its promised passenger volumes, and said the projected cut in journey times, in many cases, did not seem worthwhile.
“They’re asking us to take a huge amount of pain for no extra buses and relatively minimal time savings,” he said.
During a question-and-answer session, an older concerned resident of Rathgar named Barbara said the plan made her home seem completely cut off by road.
“It’s like we [will] live on an island,” she said. “I don’t know how we can get out of our island.”
However, a Rathmines father supported the scheme. “I want my kids to be able to cycle safely; I want my kids to be able to get the bus and to be independent, in the way I was independent when I was their age,” he said.
“Your options aren’t restricted by this, your options are increased by this.”
Meanwhile, in an unrelated presentation last Friday, Aidan Gallagher, senior project manager of Bus Connects, said the schemes would improve footpaths, add cycle lanes and upgrade urban realms, including the planting of about 5,700 trees.
“We will be going across essentially 8,500 private driveways so that will give you some idea of the interaction that’s required,” he said.
“We’ve have had extremely good engagement to date with the public stakeholders and private stakeholders and we hope to continue that good engagement through the construction.”