Wednesday 19 June 2019

Councillor fury as bus lane operation times extended

Gabija Gataveckaite

Councillors have lashed out following the extension of bus lane operation times that on the Navan Road in Dublin.

The bus lane has recently had its times extended by an additional nine hours.

Previously, the bus lane operated between 4pm and 7pm on weekdays.

Operation times have now been extended from 7am to 7pm, much to the annoyance of local councillors.

They explained that the extended operational times make it challenging for carers of elderly residents to gain access to the road.

“If the bus lane operates continuously, it’s difficult to facilitate carers and deliveries made to homes,” said Fianna Fáil Councillor Mary Fitzpatrick.

Residents were notified of timetable changes through a red warning sign that was put up on a pole on the road.

“It appears that residents were first informed when a sign went up on the road, a very discourteous approach to residents,” said Councillor Fitzpatrick.

“A change of this nature should be consulted in a more professional way,” she added.

Restricted bus lane times were initially enacted several years ago by former Lord Mayor Brendan Carr. He said that the traffic management department of Dublin City Council (DCC) changed the operation times the very morning he ended his tenure as councillor.

During his time as Mayor, Mr Carr negotiated to have the bus lane operate only between 4pm and 7pm on Navan Road.

He said that in the years that followed the restricted bus lane use, there was no issues.

“The morning I wasn’t running for council anymore, they put up a notice saying it would change from 7am-7pm.

“I’m really questioning the competency of the people doing the traffic management plan,” he said.

“If the right thing to do was to have them 7am-7pm, then why didn’t they have it at the start?” he asked.

He added that the management were facilitating councillors.

“I am concerned that it is reflecting poorly to change traffic plans to facilitate particular councillors,” he said.

Councillor Seamas McGrattan said that he has received complaints from residents ever since bus lane use was extended.

“Residents were happy and there were no major complaints, I don’t understand the motives of changing the times,” he said.

He said that there had been no consultation with the residents and no explanation given for the time changes.

“Unless the council give a proper explanation as to why they did it and a logical explanation is given, residents might accept it,” he said.

“There’s no need for a bus lane in the morning, carers come in the morning and it would be difficult for them to get access,” he added.

A spokesperson for Dublin City Council said that an “original” bus lane of hours 7am to 7pm was approved by councillors and the Traffic Advisory Group when the restricted bus lane was first put in place.

A “temporary agreement” was then reached with the previous Lord Mayor, Brendan Carr, to operate the bus and cycle lane from 4pm to 7pm.

“This agreement has now lapsed and the bus/cycle lane operational hours will revert to what the local Cllrs and the Traffic Advisory Group originally agreed to,” the spokesperson added.

“Prior to its commencement advance warning signs were erected warning road users of the change. Dublin City Council will continue to give priority to sustainable modes such as cycling and public transport where ever possible,” they added.

Navan Road is one of the main arteries from Dublin’s city centre to Blanchardstown shopping centre and caters to the operation of several Dublin Bus routes, such as 37, 39, 38 and 70.

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