The Department for Regional Development has started a public consultation process on it’s plans for Belfast Rapid Transit (BRT), a new bus service for the city. Three new routes are under consideration, linking the east, west and Titanic quarters to the city centre with new high tech, high speed buses.
One of the proposed routes for the eastern BRT service is along the Comber Greenway, seven miles of traffic free path that is very popular with cyclists and walkers. The plans call for redeveloping the Greenway to enable buses to run along a new road.
Unsurprisingly there has been a vocal campaign against these plans, and now, with the publication of the consultation documents, the campaigners can claim something of a victory: the proposed BRT Greenway route has been semi-rejected by the planners, describing it as ”feasible but not preferred” . A route along the existing Newtownards Road is emerging as the preferred option instead.
Nothing is decided yet, but neither is anything likely to change.
This is good news for cycling. The Greenway is a great resource and to “upgrade” it to carry buses would forever change it into simply another A-road with dangerous traffic to be avoided.
The BRT public consultation runs until 6th January 2012 and will include a number of public exhibitions where the proposals may be viewed.
Full details and copies of the consultation documents are available on the snappily-named DRD Belfast Rapid Transit Public Consultation on Route Options website. Greenway issue aside, they’re worth a read to see what’s in store for Belfast transport in the next 5-10 years.