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Study backs Glider route on Antrim and Ormeau Roads

Report recommends corridor as best option for extension of service

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Innovative: The Glider service was launched in 2018 on a route between east and west Belfast

Innovative: The Glider service was launched in 2018 on a route between east and west Belfast

Innovative: The Glider service was launched in 2018 on a route between east and west Belfast

An independent study into a new north-south Glider route for Belfast has delivered its recommendations.

Commissioned by Retail NI and carried out by transport consultant Karen McShane, the report follows the launch a public consultation in August by the Department for Infrastructure.

The consultation laid out three options:

Route one: Donegall Place-Royal Avenue-York Street- York Road-Shore Road-Longwood Road.

Route two: Donegall Place-Royal Avenue-Donegall Street-Clifton Street-Carlisle Circus-Antrim Road-O’Neill Road.

Route three: Donegall Place-Royal Avenue-York Street-York Road-Shore Road-Longwood Road-O’Neill Road.

The study considered these routes, in addition to others, in terms of the northern and southern halves of the city.

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Traffic flows, parking, travel time, accessibility and other factors were examined to determine which routes would be most suitable.

For the northern half, routes two and three set out in the consultation were considered. Route three (Shore Road) uses York Road as part of its path, and the study found more parking would be displaced from this route than route two (Antrim Road).

“The main benefit to the Shore Road is a link to Ulster University, this can also be satisfied by the Antrim Road route. In both northern route examples there is a need to ensure that existing businesses have ample opportunity to carry out servicing and deliveries to the existing properties,” it said.

“In both cases, the routes should extend to the proposed park and ride at O’Neill Road to ensure that the route can maximise the transfer of trips from private car.”

In summary, the study said the Antrim Road route would be the preferred option for the northern half.

As for the southern half, the study looked at three options: Ormeau Road; Malone Road, and Cregagh Road/Woodstock Road.

The study said of the latter: “With the loss in residential car parking, the narrow road widths, inability to have long lengths of dedicated bus lane, this is unlikely to form a viable option.” As for the Malone Road, it found, among other factors: “The majority of the length of the Malone Road option does not contain on-street overnight parking and already consists of four lanes in each direction. The exception is Purdysburn Road, where some amendments can be made to introduce localised bus lanes to facilitate a route to the park and ride. It is a viable route.”

It added: “The use of the S2 proposal (Malone Road) would have the potential to provide the connectivity to the Queen’s University and Belfast City Hospital.

“Notwithstanding that the Ormeau Road S1 corridor would provide the shortest route, the most direct connection and would allow for transfer of trips from the existing bus routes. It would be the preferred route to the city centre.”


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