After months of campaigning, Shankill residents and activists have heard that the National Transport Authority (NTA) will seek several changes to the BusConnects corridor that will run through the village.
At a community meeting on Thursday, September 12, the NTA announced that the existing two-lane system in Shankill will be retained, with bus-priority light being installed at roundabouts at either side of the village.
The previously proposed four lanes from the Bray Roundabout to Shankill will be replaced by three lanes, including the consideration of a new footpath to run within the boundary of Shanganagh Park.
In addition, the previously planned cycle lane will be omitted, as it would likely be unattractive to cyclists and divert them around the village.
Mature trees that were earmarked to be felled to make way for the development of the BusConnects corridor, will also be maintained.
In a statement, Local People Before Profit representative for Shankill, councillor Hugh Lewis said: “This is effectively a massive stepdown from the NTA and testament to the tremendous effort that the people of Shankill have given over the past year, particularly the retention of the existing public realm of Shankill village and the associated loss of mature trees.
“Whilst there is a lot to be greatly welcomed by the recent announcement of the NTA, the updated proposals are not exhaustive, and much remains to be seen in the details of what is currently being considered.
“The route from Shankill village to the Bray roundabout is unclear – only that they have decided to reduce the proposal by one lane as far as Shankill.
“It remains unclear what the environmental effects of these proposals will have.
“I have reasserted the point to the NTA that, as well as continuing to address public concerns, more investment must be made by central government to increase our bus fleet and workers to drive them.”
Nearly 90% of all submissions made in the BusConnects public consultation process concerned the Bray to Loughlinstown roundabout route.
The proposed four-lane system through Shankill village and the loss of existing mature trees drew the largest amount of submissions.