Bus Connects is raising its extremely ugly head again.
I had hoped it was gone away.
Just to remind you, Bus Connects is a €2bn plan to make bus commutes quicker in Dublin – at the expense of thousands of trees, hundreds of gardens, dozens of small businesses and the integrity of several communities in the Dublin urban area.
Seriously. That’s it.
Bulldoze bus lanes through urban villages, turning them all in to Clanbrassil Street lookalikes (see above) and making life, if not quite hell, more difficult and less happy for the people who live in those places.
Mature trees chopped down in Glasnevin, Rathgar, Terenure, Rathmines and other areas. Local shops left without any parking outside so that custom will inevitably dry up. Traffic diverted past primary schools where there is rush hour chaos anyway – though they probably think it’s ok for six year olds to cross busy roads as long as they don’t delay the bus.
It has all the appearance of a plan, drawn up by a bunch of people, sitting in a room and drawing thick black lines – the bus lanes – on a map with no regard whatever for the damage they cause to people and communities.
I wouldn’t mind, but the people in those areas are the very ones who are the most likely NOT to use cars to get to work, bussing, walking or cycling instead.
Time to punish them, is that it? Or is it begrudgery? Why should they have a nice place to live when we have to spend an hour each way on the bus to get to work? It certainly stinks of one or other or both.
Of course, we need to cut the number of cars travelling in to Dublin city. Of course we need to make an awful lot more room for cyclists. A congestion charge would be a start.
But bulldozing urban villages is not the way.
For the 100thtime, the answer is underground.
Across the water, the construction of Crossrail in London is nearing completion. It is a few years late and billions over budget.
And they’re delighted.
Because it’s going to do what it set out to do. Improve transport in London, shorten. Commutes and, generally, make it easier to get about that city.
Here? There seems to be a fear of committing to an underground rail system – the most necessary route being that from the city to Rathfarnham and environs.
It was first proposed in the fifties, I wrote about it in the seventies, and it has been mentioned every few years ever since.
More buses. That’s the answer that an unelected body has been tasked with implementing.
Note the word “unelected.”
This bunch of bureaucrats in the National Transport Authority has, apparently, been given power by someone, presumably Lord Ross, to do as they wish.
They claim they have consulted those affected.
No. They held meetings at which people voiced opposition. That’s not consultation.
The told meetings in one area one thing and meetings in another area something else. Divide and bullshit.
They dished out platitudes and assurances and cliches by the dozen. All utterly meaningless.
It’s time someone had the guts to call a halt.
I’m not waiting on Lord Ross to do it.
But hopefully someone will.