Priority for Non–car Users 8 June 2012
Higher priority for non–car users in Belfast
Motorists without a destination in Belfast city centre should use alternative routes as work progresses on the Belfast on the Move Masterplan to give higher priority to public transport, pedestrians and cyclists.
Over the next year, the Department for Regional Developments Roads Service will be continuing to introduce more bus and cycle lanes in the city centre. Work will include resurfacing, erecting signage, traffic signal installation, kerbline alterations, pedestrian crossings and road markings. The changes to junctions, traffic flows and routes for Translinks buses will affect streets around the City Hall area
DRDs Director of Transport Projects, Ciaran de Brca, said: This is the first step in delivering a city centre where access by public transport is given a much higher priority and the street environment is tailored to the needs of pedestrians and cyclists rather than the private car.
Belfast on the Move will help over 40 per cent of households in Belfast who do not have access to a private car and therefore rely on public transport. More bus lanes mean public transport will be quicker and more efficient.
Around 30,000 vehicles per day travel through the city centre on the streets either side of the City Hall. About 60% of this is through traffic, with no final destination in the city centre.
A full and comprehensive consultation process has been undertaken with appropriate legislation now in place for the delivery of all the measures being undertaken.”
To avoid delays, Roads Service are urging people who do not have a destination in Belfast City Centre, to use an alternative route. Whilst Roads Service has taken measures to minimise disruption, there will no doubt be delays while work is underway. There will be lane restrictions and in some cases localised road closures at off peak times said Mr de Burca.
Work has been ongoing in the west of the City since January 2012 and work is now starting in the east of the City with a bus lane being introduced in Oxford Street, from Queens Bridge to May Street, May Street, Donegall Square South and Howard Street.
The roadworks, which are now starting on Oxford Street, will progress into May Street in mid June with the resurfacing of May Street, Donegall Square South and Howard Street, prior to the introduction of the bus lanes by early July.
The works, which will require lane restrictions and localised road closures at off peak times, may cause some traffic delays. Motorists should allow extra time for their journey and consider using alternative routes. Traffic approaching from the east and travelling through the city centre via May Street and Howard Street should consider using the M3/Westlink or Dunbar Link as alternative routes. Normal access to the city centre, including car parks, shops and other premises, will be maintained at all times. Electronic signing will be erected at a number of key points to advise of the works and possible delays.
Over the summer months Roads Service will also be erecting a new strategic direction signage system throughout the city. These signs will encourage through traffic to use alternative routes which avoid the city centre.
In order to ensure the efficient operation of the new higher priority measures for public transport, there will be an increase in the level of bus lane enforcement throughout the city and particularly in the city centre.
Further details are available on the Belfast on the Move website at: http://www.drdni.gov.uk/index/belfastonthemove.htm