Friday 6 May 2011

Transport body dismisses claims it has no interest in bus corridors

THE NATIONAL Transport Authority has described as “utter nonsense” claims by environmentalists that it has “no interest” in the provision of more quality bus corridors (QBCs) in Dublin.

“The allegations that the quality bus network project office is targeted for ‘dismantling’ and that the National Transport Authority is ‘an agency which has no interest in their construction’ are utter nonsense,” a spokeswoman said.

James Nix, transport policy co-ordinator for the Irish Environmental Network, had claimed that low-cost, bus-priority measures were not being progressed in favour of promoting much more expensive rail schemes such as Metro North.

The authority’s spokeswoman said Dublin City Council had agreed to transfer the quality bus network design office to the authority where it was operating in the same manner.

“Work is continuing, as it had been prior to the transfer, in the design and delivery of QBC schemes.

“In addition, the remit of the office is being widened to include delivery of other sustainable transport schemes such as quality cycleways, accessibility schemes, development of recreational cycling and walking routes, as well as providing technical assistance,” she said.

Given the authority’s wider remit it was also intended to “utilise the capabilities of the office to support the delivery of QBCs, cycling and walking projects in regional cities” as well as in Dublin “and it will continue performing that role in an undiminished manner”.

Referring to delays in the implementation of the North Wall QBC, to link Busáras with the Dublin Port Tunnel, the spokeswoman said the route required resurfacing.

She said that as soon as this was done “later this year” lane markings for the QBC would be laid down.

Mr Nix had also claimed that a proposed QBC in Bray, Co Wicklow, which local councillors had voted to facilitate by removing space for parking on the town’s main street, was “not now to progress as planned” and that work on it had actually been halted.

The National Transport Authority’s spokeswoman said it had agreed with Bray Town Council to fund widening of the existing bridge over the river Dargle, and this would now proceed as “a key element with significant potential for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport”.

Bus priority measures on Florence Road would also be introduced “as soon as possible”, while a lower-cost scheme, involving less disruption to retailers, was now planned for Bray’s main street that would deliver the QBC objectives and give “better value for money”.

Referring to a proposed QBC for the N81 in Tallaght, the spokeswoman said that the central section of it had been omitted because it would have a “very low bus flow”.

However, she said construction of the other sections would commence in the third quarter of this year.

Irish Times

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