The Director of City Regeneration and Development reminded the Committee that, at its meeting on 8th September, the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) attended the meeting and presented the three shortlisted options which had been identified for public consultation and engagement, to link north and south Belfast:
1. O’Neill Road via Antrim Road to Cairnshill;
2. Longwood Road via Shore Road to Cairnshill; and
3. O’Neill Road via Shore Road to Cairnshill.
She pointed out that the public consultation period had been set from 26th July to 4th October, however, for the Council to share an agreed response to the Public Consultation an extension had been granted to the submission of the response until ratified by Council on the 1st November 2021.
After discussion, it was:
Moved by Alderman Kingston,
Seconded by Councillor Hussey,
That the Members of the Committee agree that the Council response to the BRT Phase 2 Public Consultation would support the Shore Road route option (Shore Road to O’Neill Road), incorporating that the Council was not supportive of the introduction of a two-way system and associated adjacent halts in Donegall Place.
Moved by Councillor Maskey,
Seconded by Councillor McLaughlin,
That the Council response to the BRT Phase 2 Public Consultation would support the Antrim Road route option with the proviso that, it incorporated, that the Council was not supportive of the introduction of a two-way system and associated adjacent halts in Donegall Place.
On a vote, 14 Members voted for the amendment, and five against and it was declared carried.
The amendment was thereupon put to the meeting as the substantive motion and passed.
The Members of the Committee:
• Noted that DfI had agreed to grant an extension to the consultation response until after the Council meeting of the 1st November to enable full Council to consider any response the Council may wish to make;
• Agreed that the Council response would support the delivery of the BRT Phase 2, and recognise the significant importance of the investment in terms of addressing climate change, delivering modal shift and connecting people with opportunities and amenities, and alignment with key policy and strategy documents;
• Agreed that, regardless of the selected North route, that the unsuccessful route would still be viewed as a primary public transport corridor with bus priority infrastructure, low or zero carbon vehicles, ticketless systems, feeder services and P&R facilities, and recommended that high quality connections to Glengormley are delivered;
• Agreed that the Council response would support the South preferred route and recommend that the Ravenhill Road was treated as a priority active travel corridor connecting a dense population in South Belfast with the Ormeau Park Gasworks Bridge and dedicated cycle infrastructure into the city centre;
• Agreed that the Bankmore link, as a dedicated sustainable and active travel corridor, would be supported by Council, and requested that DfI work with Council to optimise the route and regeneration potential of this corridor;
• Agreed that the Council response would identify the failure to connect directly to the Transport Hub, as a missed opportunity in terms of providing a coherent and comprehensive transport connection, and that by strategically realigning the local road network there were significant opportunities to address the current status of Great Victoria St;
• Agreed that the Council was not supportive of the introduction of a two-way system and associated adjacent halts in Donegall Place and that alternative options should be explored;
• Agreed that the Council response would request that, under the Bolder Vision, that DfI would work closely with key stakeholders, including Translink, City Council, the Chamber, UU and anchor institutions to develop a short, sharp review for delivering effective public transportation, vehicular access and spaces for people requirements of the future city centre; and
• Agreed that the response would make recommendations that, due consideration would be given to overcoming localised issues through detailed engagement, including access and provision for local businesses, problem parking in adjacent areas, accessibility both during and after construction, and mitigating the impacts of construction.
Moved by Councillor O’Hara,
Seconded by Councillor Ferguson,
That the Council response to the BRT Phase 2 Public Consultation would include the following recommendations:
• That the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) immediately introduce 12-hour bus priority lanes along all of the considered routes;
• That DfI consider the expansion of rail halts along the Shore Road;
• That the south bound route extends further south, beyond Cairnshill Park and Ride to Carryduff; and
• that DfI expediate residential parking schemes.
On a vote, 14 Members voted for the proposal and five against and it was declared carried.