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Congested Belfast earns an unwelcome top 10 spot

By Claire Weir

Published 27/04/2010

Belfast has come seventh in a poll of the most congested cities in Europe.

Despite its diminutive stature compared to many others on the list, Northern Ireland’s capital is one of three UK cities to make the top 10 in a survey by satnav company TomTom.

Dublin came sixth in the gridlock rankings, with London fourth. Brussels topped the poll, which was determined by speeds recorded by TomTom devices inside moving — or not, as the case may be — vehicles.

The least congested city on the list was Zaragoza in Spain.

A TomTom spokesperson said: “It's bad news for the Brits. Despite the congestion charge, few Londoners will be surprised to find their city comes in fourth overall, while Edinburgh and Belfast also make the top 10.”

Tommy Doyle, chairman of the Belfast Public Hire Taxi Association, is one man who knows more than most about sitting in static Belfast traffic.

“In the rush hour, you could definitely believe how high Belfast comes on that list,” he said.

“It is as bad as I can remember it. People are now double parking, parking on urban clearways, so that two lanes are reduced to one, and every household seems to have multiple cars and these roads were not designed to cope.”

A spokesman for Belfast City Council said: “It’s an old historic problem — people don’t want to get out of their cars.”

Top 20

1. Brussels

2. Warsaw

3. Wroclaw

4. London

5. Edinburgh

6. Dublin

7. Belfast

8. Marseille

9. Paris

10. Luxembourg

11. Milan

12. Rotterdam

13. Birmingham

14. Rome

15. Amsterdam

16. Oslo

17. Barcelona

18. Budapest

19. Naples

20. Poznan

Belfast Telegraph

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