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Ask Me Anything: BusConnects Shankill

I’ve distilled my responses to your calls, emails, and DMs about Busconnects below. I hope it’s useful for understanding the planning application at I was pregnant with my daughter when the designs for the scheme were first published, and she’s in junior infants now. With any luck, she’ll still be in primary school by the time the project is completed.

The aims for the project in 2018 were the same as they are today: to bring a high frequency, reliable, 24 hour bus service within a 10 minute walk of 90% of Dubliners.  To improve walking and cycling facilities in the vicinity of the bus routes to make our communities more accessible. To provide appropriate bus shelters, real-time information, and “next generation” ticketing, so we know exactly when our buses will arrive and we can pay with our bank cards and smart phones as we’ve come to expect in most European cities.


As a long term member of the Green party and a student of sustainable transport, in my opinion the design of BusConnects gives too much priority–and space–to the movement and storage of private vehicles. To retain the dominance of the private vehicle, road widening is being proposed in many locations with an attending loss of green spaces, mature trees, and private gardens. On some of the corridors, residents have embraced counter-proposals to road widening, for example, one way systems, closing of junctions to through traffic, removing car parking etc. I believe this is an approach that more effectively achieves the project’s aims, of both improving the bus service and reducing car dependency. It also harmonises with Ireland’s current Sustainable Mobility Policy, adopted in 2022, that will see an additional 500,000 active travel and public transport journeys per day and a 10% reduction in kilometres driven by fossil fuelled cars by 2030.

However, I also appreciate that this project has been through a significant process of public consultation. There were 1,115 submissions to the first non-statutory public consultation for the section between Loughlinstown Roundabout and the Dargle River, and the design for the bus corridor was altered dramatically to address those concerns. Here are some examples of how residents’ feedback was incorporated into the current planning application to minimise road widening and tree felling:

  • Reduction in overall use of bus lanes by means of signal controlled priority between Loughlinstown Roundabout and Crinken Lane
  • Removal of cycle tracks along Dublin Road between Loughlinstown Roundabout and Crinken Lane, apart from a length between Corbawn Lane to Stonebridge Road, to reduce overall cross section widths. The previously proposed cycle track diversion along Lower Road and Mountain View has also been removed. 
  • Revision of Preferred Route Option through Shankill Village to maintain the current cross section and parking on Main Street 
  • Corbawn Lane now proposed to operate as an exit only onto Shanganagh Road
  • Development of the footpath and cycle track design south of Crinken Lane to bring behind the road side tree line where possible in order to maintain the general tree lined character of the Dublin Road
  • South of Shankill plans have also been developed that maintain the overarching tree canopies where possible by means of setback footpaths and cycle tracks behind the current roadside tree line. 
  • On the approach to Shankill Village from either side, reduced cross sections have been developed, along with use of signal controlled priority, to reduce the impact on adjacent trees where possible. 
  • Along Morehampton Road cycle tracks are also now set back behind the road side tree line.

I reproduce these measures here not to support them, but to demonstrate the level of engagement the NTA has had with local concerns. I think it’s important people know that process has happened, especially if you’re only learning about Busconnects now. The complete list of design amendments made in response to the public consultation can be found at: I

To address some other recurring concerns in the correspondence Ossian Smyth and I have received on the Bray Scheme:

“BusConnects will fell approximately 400 mature trees between Loughlinstown and Bray.”

According to the arborists report, “a total of 359 individual trees, 41 tree groups or parts of tree groups and ten hedges or parts of hedges” will need to be removed along the entire length of corridor 13–not just the section between Loughlinstown and Bray. 41 of these trees were recommended for removal regardless of the proposal due to their physiological and structural decline. The age class of the trees ranges from young (15), semi-mature (144), early-mature (113), mature, (134) and over mature (4).

The Landscaping General Arrangement shows in detail where trees and vegetation will be felled and where new planting will be facilitated. It is useful in particular for understanding how cycle lanes have been relocated behind trees on the Dublin Road creating a new buffer between cyclists and road traffic. You can also see how efforts have been made to retain vegetation on at least one side of the road in places where road widening will occur–to soften the changes required to provide bus priority lanes. I think these are good compromises to retain the character of the area and improve public transport priority.

“BusConnects will only save commuters a few minutes, it’s not worth making so many changes”

The bus priority measures at each stage of every corridor will shave a few minutes off journey times. All of these time savings add up to provide reliable journey times for the bus passenger. We know that the two most common reasons people give for not using the bus is that it takes too long or that it’s not reliable. These priority lanes help us solve both problems with predictable journey lengths that can compete with private vehicle trips. The network requires us all to make changes and Shankill should play its part in this collective effort to improve Dublin’s public transport.

“There will Bus Lanes on the N11/M11, why do we need them in Shankill?”

A useful bus service is one that is accessible to the highest number of people. This means we have to route buses through population centres like Shankill village where they are easily accessed by local people.

I hope this information is useful in understanding the proposed scheme. I’m happy to answer more questions as they arise.

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