Friday 30 September 2016

€10bn transport plan calls for four new Luas lines and second Metro

Published 15/10/2015 | 02:30

Four new Luas lines and a second Metro project are needed by 2035 according to the National Transport Authority
Four new Luas lines and a second Metro project are needed by 2035 according to the National Transport Authority

Four new Luas lines and a second Metro project are needed by 2035 to tackling rising congestion levels in the capital and encourage commuters to switch to public transport.

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The National Transport Authority (NTA) says that €10bn needs to be invested in roads, rail, buses and cycle paths to combat gridlock and encourage a switch to more sustainable forms of transport and prevent dangerous climate change.

And it wants car parking spaces to be reduced in the city and high-capacity bus corridors developed. A draft 'Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016-2035' also says that new park-and-ride facilities should be built near busy rail and Luas stations to encourage commuters to switch to public transport.

The plan, published today, includes several expensive rail projects and is costed at €10bn. However, an economic analysis from the NTA says that if implemented, it will result in the exchequer gaining €13bn, mostly from savings from shorter journey times.

The plan says that addressing congestion must be a priority, which involves a "significant reduction" in trips made by car.

Housing and retail developments should be targeted in areas with good public transport links, or where they can be easily provided, to discourage use of the private car.

The proposed measures include developing a new 'Metro South' project from St. Stephen's Green to Bride's Glen, which would link with Metro North. Metro North is not expected to be operational until at least 2026. Part of the Metro South line would be tunnelled between St Stephen's Green and Ranelagh.

It has also called for an extension of the Luas to Bray, Finglas, Lucan and Poolbeg/Ringsend. The Dart network should be expanded to Drogheda, Hazelhatch and Maynooth, and an underground tunnel in the city centre provided, along with new railway stations at Pelletstown on the Maynooth line and Woodbrook in Wicklow.

A core bus network with high- frequency services and faster journey times should be developed, along with two Bus Rapid Transit systems from Blanchardstown to UCD, and between Clongriffin and Tallaght. The cycle network should also be expanded.

The report says that, as the city expands into suburban areas, the use of the car continues to increase and car ownership is likely to reach "saturation" levels.

"The long-term success of the country's capital region depends on sound and considered long-term strategic planning," NTA chief executive Anne Graham said.

The report is subject to public consultation until November 13 next.

Irish Independent

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