Transport Minister Chris Hazzard has today announced a consultation on changes to bus lane operating hours and parking restrictions along the Belfast Rapid Transit (BRT) routes.
The Departments new BRT system is scheduled to commence operation in September 2018.
It intends to extend the BRT bus lane operating hours and amend some of the waiting restrictions along the routes in order to allow the new high quality BRT services to operate reliably and at high frequency throughout the day.
The Minister said:
“BRT is an exciting public transport project for Belfast and is a key priority for my Department and for the Executive. The project will deliver not only a new high quality public transport system but also numerous improvements for the local communities which it will serve. These include resurfacing of roads and footpaths, improvements to pedestrian crossing facilities, upgraded LED street lighting and, where possible, improvements to the streetscape including landscaping and tree planting.
“I realise that some of the proposed changes to the BRT bus lane operating hours and local waiting restrictions may cause issues for the people who live, work and travel along the BRT routes. In recognition of this my Department will be carrying out local engagement to identify concerns and develop final proposals to address these, as far as reasonably practicable.”
The consultation will consider the extension of the BRT bus lane operating to 12 hours. The Department will consider the inclusion of specific exemptions in the legislation to address particular issues which are identified by the consultation.
The consultation, which will deal with the entire BRT route on a section by section basis, is due to commence in the next few months. A letter will issue to residents and businesses along the BRT routes explaining the proposals and the process for making comments.
The Minister added,
“I would encourage everyone who lives or works along the BRT routes to view my Department’s proposals and let us have your views. This is an exciting opportunity to help shape the future of your new BRT service.
“When it becomes fully operational in September 2018, BRT will connect West Belfast, East Belfast and Titanic Quarter via the city centre and will offer a high quality service providing people with improved access to jobs, hospitals, shops, schools, colleges and entertainment. Importantly it will provide an attractive alternative to travel by private car on these busy arterial routes into Belfast.”
Once the consultation is complete the Department will consider the comments received and develop final proposals which will then be subject to the statutory Traffic Regulation Order process, including formal public consultation.
Notes to editors:
- BRT is a £90m investment in a major new public transport system which will help to address the current and future transport needs in Belfast and support sustainable economic growth and regeneration. BRT will provide a modern, safe, efficient and high quality public transport service which will encourage people to travel by public transport instead of by car. It will help to integrate communities and link people to jobs, shops, leisure, health and education services. BRT will connect East Belfast, West Belfast and Titanic Quarter via the city centre.
- Further information on BRT can be found on the Department’s website at www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/topics/transport-initiatives/brt.
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