North South Glider Route
14th September 2021
Phase 2 of the Belfast Rapid Transport project is one of several infrastructure, tourism and regeneration projects being considered as part of the Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD). The project aims to extend the rapid transit network into and beyond North and South Belfast as well as connecting the existing G2 Glider service (which currently links Belfast City Centre to Titanic Quarter) to Queen’s University and Belfast City Hospital.
The Department for Infrastructure have now launched a public consultation to seek views on the emerging routes to help inform the identification of a preferred route. As the southern part of the route will run through the Linen Quarter, this project has wide implications for the future development of the BID area. Apart of the potential benefits to the area (e.g. improved connectivity, reduced levels of pollution, public realm improvement) the project also presents potential limits to future development within the area. It is therefore crucial that the BID is involved in the design process in order to realise benefits for businesses in the BID area.
DfI preferred route
The new G3 route runs from the existing G1/ G2 network at City Hall along Great Victoria Street – Bruce Street – Bankmore Link – Ormeau Road – Saintfield Road – Cairnshill Park & Ride.
This route proposes a new bus-only connection on Bankmore Link. It also provides dedicated cycle lanes which enhances onward connections to the proposed Lagan Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge at the Gas Works. The route makes use of and extends existing bus lane provision along Great Victoria Street and connects to the new Belfast Transport Hub from Great Victoria Street by way of a short walk.
The G2 extension route runs from the existing G2 network at Howard Street – Great Victoria Street – Bruce Street – Dublin Road – University Road, then connects with the Lisburn Road via Elmwood Avenue and back to the City Centre via Lisburn Road and Great Victoria Street. This route forms an extension to the existing G2 service which extends to the Titanic Quarter via the City Centre network.
This route facilitates significant priority for BRT2 using the existing roads and will enhance accessibility to Queen’s University and Belfast City Hospital as well as serving the communities of Sandy Row, Donegall Pass, Botanic and Holylands. Elmwood Avenue is proposed to be converted to one-way operation in the direction of Lisburn Road with the existing on-street parking retained.
Disadvantages of this route:
- Limits potential of Bankmore Link to be used as large scale open public space / residential amenity zone;
- Introduces new traffic barrier between south Belfast and city centre;
- Lack of imagination re transformation of existing road network for benefit of active travel modes e.g. walking, cycling and public transport.
LQ BID preferred route
The new G3 route runs from the existing G1/ G2 network at City Hall along Great Victoria Street – Shaftesbury Square – Donegall Pass to Ormeau Road and beyond. The route requires designation of Great Victoria Street as a two-way artery and major realignment of the road network on Shaftesbury Square. This also requires reduced traffic coming into Shaftesbury square from the Botanic Avenue direction.
The G2 extension route follows the DfI preferred route.
Rationale for proposed route changes:
- Bankmore link to be used as green lung for inner city residential communities / Linen Quarter workers;
- Gt Victoria St transformed into two-way ‘street’ rather than 4-lane ‘road’;
- Potential for reduced traffic / pedestrian priority in Dublin Road;
- Potential for redesign of Shaftesbury Square to incorporate a high quality pedestrianized public space;
- Potential for reduced traffic / pedestrian priority in Botanic Avenue;
- Residential area of Donegall Pass provides more potential users of new G3 route.