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Discussion Starter #581 (Edited)
Would be good to have the two Universities linked up with the North-South line, or will that form part of a City line - perhaps Titanic Quarter - University of Ulster Cathedral Quarter Campus - City Hall - Transport Hub - Queens University - City Hospital ... then onwards down the Lisburn Road.
 

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Fantastic news. We'll probably find out soon enough that having jumped straight into a light-rail setup would have been the best approach for handling passenger numbers.
 

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Great news on the Glider, and that was my thoughts - pity we wernt more bold at the time, i really think Belfast could support an East West and North South Tram. Owell!

For the future i guess.
 

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Would still love to see proper railway reinstated to Dundonald/Ards etc. Seems madness not to when original land is pretty much all there.

If this could reopen with loads of suburban stops, also if loads more stops could be added on suburban elements of Larne, Bangor and Lisburn lines it would be transformative, along the lines of the DART etc.

Would then allow Gliders to go to areas such as Cregagh & Castlereagh that never had railways...
 

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yea the Cregagh just needs a proper bus lane at the very least, its too narrow for the actual bus.

Yea i think the boat has been missed on using the city elements of the old railway land to Dundonald / Ards. The Greenway is much loved now.
 

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Discussion Starter #586 (Edited)
As a daily user of the Comber Greenway, I'm very glad it'll never be used for trains / trams (in our lifetime) and any rail network through the East will have to be accommodated on the Newtownards Road ($), go underground entirely ($$$) or DfI buy hundreds, if not thousands of properties ($$) which means this project is probably a non-starter, at least for our generation and the next one....

These Greenways are far too important to be ripped up for trains again and I say that not as an eco-warrior, but someone who really values the health and well being of people who live in the city.
 

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I know I had my complaints about the glider, particularly not going passed TQ on its East Belfast route (it's never going to make that turn at dee Street) but it does reach the cc pretty fast from the park and ride. I'm not sure if a light rail could do it much faster.
One thing I do share concern on is 1,000 houses being built along the Comber road in the next 10 years. The government must be expecting a lot of people to take up cycling.
 

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Discussion Starter #588 (Edited)
...and if they wanted to improve journey times further they could use a technique called Active Signal Priority which would change the traffic signal phasing when a Glider vehicle approaches a junction.

I think a technique like this could work well on the Albertbridge Rd / Ravenhill Road junction and perhaps the Knock Rd junction too, essentially meaning the Glider vehicles wouldn't have to stop for the traffic signals there.
 

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As a daily user of the Comber Greenway, I'm very glad it'll never be used for trains / trams (in our lifetime) and any rail network through the East will have to be accommodated on the Newtownards Road ($), go underground entirely ($$$) or DfI buy hundreds, if not thousands of properties ($$) which means this project is probably a non-starter, at least for our generation and the next one....

These Greenways are far too important to be ripped up for trains again and I say that not as an eco-warrior, but someone who really values the health and well being of people who live in the city.
Depending on the type of rail I'm sure both could be catered for together. At the end of the day it would be greater good for everyone to take hundreds of cars off the road surely?
 

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Depending on the type of rail I'm sure both could be catered for together. At the end of the day it would be greater good for everyone to take hundreds of cars off the road surely?
I'm increasingly of the opinion that to properly deal with the newtownards traffic you would need a fixed rail route, of which the belfast stretch of the greenway is the only sensible option. You would as you say be taking hundreds of cars off the road, not just in a day but in a single hour, compared to a paltry few dozen cyclists. As a compromise you could have a single track railway, a significantly thinner space for cyclists, and the odd passing point where trains have right of way to overtake each other and achieve a frequency that can just about justify new stations every mile or two. No one gets everything they want but a compromise nonetheless.
 

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...and if they wanted to improve journey times further they could use a technique called Active Signal Priority which would change the traffic signal phasing when a Glider vehicle approaches a junction.

I think a technique like this could work well on the Albertbridge Rd / Ravenhill Road junction and perhaps the Knock Rd junction too, essentially meaning the Glider vehicles wouldn't have to stop for the traffic signals there.
Originally there was going to be something like this, as far as I know it was cancelled quite late into the project and I'm not sure why.
 

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I think they realised there just want enough room for a track and pedestrians/cyclists and guarantee everyone's safety. But i also distinctly remember it was something Aliiance and DUP were both against so it had no political support in East Belfast, particularly when it was neck and neck between them. Again the Greenway was too ingrained. And to be fair its a great amenity.

I think any further sprawl should be concentrated on existing railway lines. Open Templeppatrick and expand that village, Build a proper park and ride in Mossley West, and Lisburn West Station etc where there is plenty of room, and Greener commuting infrastructure. Comber/Newtownards just doesnt have the infrastructure.

Like what was mentioned i cant see much service improvement between Light Rail, and the Glider. But- Is there potential for three carriage busses to further improve capacity?
 

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Discussion Starter #593
I think they realised there just want enough room for a track and pedestrians/cyclists and guarantee everyone's safety. But i also distinctly remember it was something Aliiance and DUP were both against so it had no political support in East Belfast, particularly when it was neck and neck between them. Again the Greenway was too ingrained. And to be fair its a great amenity.

I think any further sprawl should be concentrated on existing railway lines. Open Templeppatrick and expand that village, Build a proper park and ride in Mossley West, and Lisburn West Station etc where there is plenty of room, and Greener commuting infrastructure. Comber/Newtownards just doesnt have the infrastructure.

Like what was mentioned i cant see much service improvement between Light Rail, and the Glider. But- Is there potential for three carriage busses to further improve capacity?
There's no (or very little support) support in East Belfast for the Comber Greenway to be reinstated as a railway again as it's simply too great of an asset for cyclists, joggers, walkers, runners, dog owners and kids. It's also BCC and DfIs policy to create more green corridors to encourage people to be more active, so any development of the Greenway would be in direct contravention of this policy...

Any rapid transit system in the East and South will have to go underground for large parts of the route, IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #594 (Edited)
Just on the traffic problems in Newtownards and surrounding towns....

IMO the local authorities have allowed these towns to expand with far too much car centric housing, so even if they built a railway station in Newtownards town centre, most commuters would still have to drive to the station as public transport cannot effectively serve the whole town and the edge out of town housing estates in Newtownards...

To put it bluntly, the days when car commuters could drive from edge out of town housing estates in Bangor, Newtownards or Dundonald to Belfast City Centre in 20 minutes and then park their car for a few quid are over - commuting habits have to change and ultimately people will have to relocate back into the city and the surrounding suburbs (if they want a quick and stress free commute).

Large parts of our countryside have been ruined by over development and when you fly over Northern Ireland you'll witness this first hand - bungalows and low density housing scattered everywhere in the countryside. It's a bloody mess and it's no wonder we have traffic chaos outside of the city when we've allowed so many edge out of town housing estates...

So IMO it's time we stopped/banned housing development outside the main cities and started developing Belfast and L'Derry as dense and vibrant urban cores.
 

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Just on the traffic problems in Newtownards and surrounding towns....

IMO the local authorities have allowed these towns to expand with far too much car centric housing, so even if they built a railway station in Newtownards town centre, most commuters would still have to drive to the station as public transport cannot effectively serve the whole town and the edge out of town housing estates in Newtownards...
Of course there is every indication that approving & encouraging this type of development will go on indefinitely. I would take umbrage at the belief among local government that it is, as you suggest, impossible to effectively connect outlying estates with the train stations. It can be done, it just requires a bigger subsidy, something I would happily pay a higher rates bill for if needs be. For Belfast alone I would say you need to introduce a bill of rights that says legally every bus stop has to have a bus at least every 20 minutes between 7am & 7pm- with the understanding that the vast majority of stops will have a better frequency than that, it's just that with (as yet non-exist ant) cross city routes that avoid the centre there will be less demand. I can't see Stormont or direct rule stumping up for that so it should be Belfast City council and the urban portions of neighbouring councils. As a policy it would do wonders for public transport and while costly it requires very little thought compared to more complicated schemes such as Glider routes or building new rail halts.

For the other towns they need to replace byzantine blue bus routes with some kind of wheelchair friendly minibus/ taxi- that are primarily for the infirm anyway. Why serve every other cul de sac once every five hours when you can have a frequent legible route on the main roads. There was an article in the Down Spectator recently where the residents of Carnlea were complaining about commuters parking there to access the rail halt. The supposed solution to the problem was building a park & ride site on a mythical piece of land that didn't exist- it didn't occur to anyone that a bus to the train would do the trick. While Ireland is uncommonly fond of cul-de-sacs that make what should be a five minute walk a fifteen minute walk, it is not impossible to have bus routes in low density areas. If it was there would be very little train passengers in the south east of england, where the towns aren't that different to here.
 

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There's no (or very little support) support in East Belfast for the Comber Greenway to be reinstated as a railway again as it's simply too great of an asset for cyclists, joggers, walkers, runners, dog owners and kids. It's also BCC and DfIs policy to create more green corridors to encourage people to be more active, so any development of the Greenway would be in direct contravention of this policy...

Any rapid transit system in the East and South will have to go underground for large parts of the route, IMO.
I think any support for or against is purely anecdotal and speculative at best, and obviously any current user of the Greenway isn't going to want to see it go.

But, If a modern high speed rail service was introduced with there would be many people in East Belfast and wider county down who would be in favour. Def more likely than a tram or underground IMO...

On the issue of traffic the amount of cars funnelled through Dundonald village is crazy, and only going to get worse. Public transport aside, it could really do with being bypassed longer term in someway, where and how I don't know. Ironically the reason for retaining the railway land in the first place....
 

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Discussion Starter #597 (Edited)
I would love to see a light rail network in the East of the city and large part of the Comber Greenway beyond the Kings Road towards Dundonald could very easily accommodate trams and pedestrians/cyclists but towards the North Road and the Beersbridge Road the Greenway becomes quite narrow with very steep banks, loads of very mature trees, so unless they bought large parts of the residents gardens it would be very difficult to accommodate both. Then what do you do when you reach the Holywood Arches: go underground, build a bridge or go on the road and what route do you follow after that.

Compromise is always the way but the main problem for me is that the Greenway route completely misses out Ballyhackamore which would be a massive catchment area for the network. Also misses out the Stormont Estate, Ulster Hospital etc making the network a sort of express train to somewhere something in Dundonald.
 

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As there are no short or medium to long term plans for light rail, I wonder if a guided busway like in Cambridge/shire would be a good solution for Newtownards. It did have significant delays though.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridgeshire_Guided_Busway

The dual carriageway would have to be widened anyway for standard buslanes, and a separate busway could be more easily converted to light rail if it ever came to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #599
When are DfI / the new Infrastructure Minister going to announce plans for a second glider route aka Glider "Phase 2" - North - South? I understand part funding was included in the City Deal but they've gone very quiet on that recently. Hopefully plans can be announced soon because it will take the best part of 2 years to deliver it.
 

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Well the Infrastructure Minister's constituency in N.Belfast so i'd imagine it will happen sooner rather than later :lol:

But honestly good for N.Belfast and their voters.
 
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