Some residents of Blackpool remain concerned about the BusConnects plans proposed for the area, while others have welcomed the project which aims to improve bus services.
Residents attended a public information evening held at St Vincent’s GAA Clubhouse on Blarney Rd yesterday where they had access to designers, engineers, and representatives from the National Transport Authority (NTA).
Speaking to The Echo, Blackpool resident Robbie Culhane agreed that Blackpool needs public transport but raised concerns about the “discomfort that it is going to cause people”.
“My father is 81 and he needs his car, he needs it outside the door and we’re still unsure as to how it is going to impact us. I think Blackpool is just too small for this,” he said.
“Do they think of the old-age pensioners and the people who built the country?
"I can jump up on a bike, he can’t. I can carry bags from Blackpool bridge up, he can’t. So we have to consider that as well.”
His father, Pat Culhane, said: “Planning is done by people in offices and they should get out and walk it before they decide anything. Let them walk out from a certain point to the end of where it is and take a look at what they’re seeing on the ground.”
Speaking about the proposed bus gate, which is a short length of standalone bus lane restricted exclusively to buses, taxis, and cyclists, as well as emergency vehicles, Robbie suggested putting time limits on the bus gate proposed for Blackpool to allow traffic to travel in and out after peak times.
He said a 24-hour bus gate “will have traffic backed up Dublin Hill with everyone trying to get out of a bottleneck”.
“I’m glad they’re having these consultations and hope that they might take things like this on board,” he said.
Student, Jordan Flynn, who travels by bus to college, a journey that currently takes him an hour and a half, welcomed the project.
“I think the Thomas Davis St bus gate is for the best.
"I think a lot of people are afraid of it but a lot of the lobbying that has been done is by the businesses, not by the residents at all.
“I think they’ll actually get more business from more people who would feel safer walking there. I’m from Ballyvolane and I would go to town because it’s easier to walk around whereas Blackpool is a concrete jungle where you would need a car to get around.
“Blackpool is closer to me so I would rather go there if it was nicer to be in terms of accessibility,” he said.
Resident Linda Higginston called for a flashing sign to be erected at the top of Dublin Hill to warn lorries travelling into Blackpool of the low bridge at Dublin Hill Middle near Delaney Park.
She said trucks and lorries are getting stuck two to three times a week and that traffic becomes backed up back as far as Glenthorn, warning that this project would make the situation worse.
“A flashing sign at the top of Dublin Hill would let lorry drivers know there is a low bridge ahead. That’s all it takes,” she said.
Also in attendance were councillors Mick Nugent and Kenneth Collins who described the project as “a work in progress”.
“There are different opinions in terms of what is best for the area. The Blackpool Traders Group has concerns about the loss of parking in the village in terms of being able to access buildings.
“We’ve met the traders and others in Blackpool, including the Blackpool Community Association, and they’re putting in submissions as well so I think collectively we can come together and work out what’s best in terms of Blackpool,” Cllr Nugent said.
BusConnects senior communications manager Terry Brennan described the public information events as “a really important part of the consultation process” which allows BusConnects to bring its proposals into the heart of the communities where it proposes to have sustainable transport corridors.
He said that he is finding that people are leaving the public information events more informed and “in a place where they at least understand what the proposals are”.
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