Belfast Telegraph

Belfast gridlock 'economically damaging for city' - Have you been affected?

Naomi Long scathing of new traffic arrangements

Gridlock in the Titanic area of Belfast could be "economically damaging" to the city, Alliance leader Noami Long has said.

The East Belfast MLA was speaking after huge tailbacks in the Queen's Road/Sydenham Road area following the introduction of a new road layout to accommodate Belfast's new Glider system.

 

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The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) said it will revise traffic light timings in an attempt to tackle the issue and will continue to monitor the situation.

Translink apologised on Thursday after buses had to take an alternative route due to the delays.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan Show Mrs Long detailed the current issues in the area.

"It's not the only problem we have with infrastructure in the Titanic Quarter, part of the planning agreement that was made also included plans for the upgrade of Dee Street junction to improve the ability to access the site," the Alliance leader said.

"That we have so many people working, living and visiting the site everyday is a positive but it's a victim of its own success. However even allowing for all of that when there is an event, for example at the SSE Arena, you have very heavy traffic along Sydenham Road and you can't get out of Queen's Road.

"There's just no way to get out of there and allow the traffic to disperse and what this bus lane has done is replicate that on a daily basis. This was an intermittent problem which is now a daily problem."

The East Belfast MLA said the delays went above and beyond what had been expected.

"Last night I was down in Titanic Quarter to have a look at what was going on and even with the adjustments that were made yesterday, additional traffic lights and turning options, the traffic tailback was still nose to tail between 4 to 6pm and buses were stuck in the traffic because there isn't a bus lane for the whole of Queen's Road," Mrs Long said.

"Translink tweeted while I was there that they were suspending buses along the road because of the problems.

"This is not a slight increase in journey time which you expect with any new transport system, this has gone from a five minute drive to gridlock which lasts about an hour."

Live from Titanic Quarter, in the traffic...

Posted by Naomi Long on Thursday, August 16, 2018

Mrs Long said that Belfast businesses and tourist attractions were being directly impacted by the delays.

"This is having a knock-on effect on people's working lives, people were having to leave work early or work from home, meetings were cancelled, traffic for Titanic Belfast and HMS Caroline and other tourism opportunities is going to be affected. You're not going to have cruise ships sending tour buses to Titanic if it means that people are getting stuck in traffic and don't make it back for the time they were meant to leave," she said.

"All of these things have an economic impact. Not everybody who drives in the Titanic Quarter is a commuter, some is necessary business traffic, there are haulage firms, and lorries who are caught up in this. So there's an economic impact on top of everything else."

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