The business case for Glider routes to north and south Belfast is now at an “advanced stage”, according to Northern Ireland transport chiefs.
But the Department of Infrastructure has been criticized for not acting quickly enough on a climate emergency.
Plans for a range of proposed new routes were revealed at two virtual town hall meetings hosted by the Green Party and the SDLP last September.
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During the briefings, Belfast Rapid Transport 2 program manager Clive Robinson and Atkins transport planning consultant Damian Murray presented the proposed routes.
Those on the table will take the glider from O’Neill Road north of the city to Cairnshill to the south, but won’t extend as far as Carryduff or Glengormley.
Both men answered questions from the public during online briefings during which a number of concerns were raised.
These did not include plans to link Glider routes to the new £175million Belfast transport hub.
People from across NI were then invited to comment on the proposals, with final public consultation “approaching final draft stage.”
We reported earlier this year that the majority of residents on Carryduff and Glengormley streets would like to see a rapid transit scheme extended to their suburbs.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Infrastructure said: ” Work on the public consultation report is nearing the final draft stage. Further development of the business case, which will help inform the selection of the preferred route, is also well advanced. At this point, it is too early to provide a timeline for the announcement of the preferred route.”
South Belfast Alliance MP Paula Bradshaw is again calling for the southern route to be extended to Carryduff.
She told Belfast Live: “I am delighted that the department is making progress on a glider service for South Belfast and will be looking closely at the business case. These plans need to be future proof and take into account the demographic change and increased demand, particularly in relation to Carryduff.
“Any plan that sees the glider end at Cairnshill Park & Ride would be short-sighted and fail to take into account the scale of change needed to tackle the climate crisis. It is essential that we encourage more people to use public transport in anticipation of demand and in this case there is a clear need to extend plans for the South Belfast Glider to Carryduff with a new associated Park & Ride.”
Green Party NI deputy leader Cllr Mal O’Hara would like to see the route north extended to Glengormley.
He said: “It is welcome that the public consultation report is nearing final draft stage and that the business case is at an advanced stage. However, this is not the pace of change needed in the event of a climate emergency. The consultation closed last October.
“I have shaped the City Council’s response with a few key demands; including extension to Carryduff and Glengormely, bus priority along intended routes, living roofs over new infrastructure and the roll out of residential car parks as part of any development of the Glider Phase 2. I am hopeful that the Department will listen to the political will of Belfast City Council.
“We know the air in Belfast is toxic and breaches European legal limits. We know Belfast is a car dependent city, often crippled by traffic jams and traffic jams. We know that 23% of our emissions in the city These problems can be solved by encouraging people to switch from private cars to more sustainable modes of transport and the key to this is to offer efficient and reliable options.
“Phase 2 of the glider can be part of this solution, but the ministry and the new minister must prioritize it. The 2027 timeline before phase 2 is operational is already too far away. The minister should accelerate everything process.”
Proposed South Belfast Glider route and G2 extension
- South Route – Ormeau Road – Starting from the existing G1/G2 network at City Hall along Great Victoria Street, Bruce Street, Bankmore Link (proposed new public transport and active transport link) to Ormeau Road, then continuing from Ormeau Road to the intersection of Ravenhill Road and along Saintfield Road to Cairnshill Park & Ride.
- G2 extension – This route forms an extension of the existing G2 service (which connects Belfast city center to the Titanic Quarter) running from the existing G1/G2 network to City Hall along Great Victoria Street, Bruce Street, Dublin Road, University Road, Elmwood Avenue and back to the city center via Lisburn Road and Great Victoria Street. This route is used to connect Glider to Queen’s University and Belfast City Hospital.
Proposed routes for North Belfast Glider
- North Road (Antrim Road) – From the existing G1/G2 network at City Hall along Donegall Place and Royal Avenue. From here it uses Donegall Street to access Clifton Street, then from Carlisle Circus continues along Antrim Road to a proposed new transport hub / Park & Ride on O’Neill Road.
- North Route – (Route Rive Option A) – Running from the existing G1/G2 network at City Hall along Donegall Place and Royal Avenue to York Street. From there it follows York Road and Shore Road to Longwood Road. It then continues along Longwood Road and Church Road to a proposed new transport hub/Park & Ride on O’Neill Road.
- North Route – (Route Rive Option B) – Running from the existing G1/G2 network at City Hall along Donegall Place and Royal Avenue to York Street. From here it runs along York Road and Shore Road to Longwood Road and ends at a proposed new transport hub / Park & Ride adjacent to Abbeycentre.
Read more: Breaking news on new glider routes as transport bosses review 1,200 responses
Read more: Glider: North and South Belfast plans shown in online public meetings
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