South Belfast Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw has described the Department for Infrastructure’s plans for the extension of the Glider service to North and South Belfast as falling short.
A consultation on Phase Two of the Belfast Rapid Transit Network was launched on Monday but the proposed southern route would stop at Cairnshill Park and Ride and an extension to the Carrryduff Roundabout was assessed as being ‘unsuitable’.
“Whilst it is welcome the Department has finally launched its consultation, it is a pity the proposal falls short of what is needed to future-proof the scheme. Its assessment there are low levels of residential density in Carryduff is short-sighted and fails to adequately consider the impact future residential developments will have on demand,” said the South Belfast MLA.
“I am not sure why the proposal does not consider Let’s Go Hydro a ‘notable attractor’ on a par with We Are Vertigo. If the current route proceeds as intended, it will leave Glider passengers with a significant walk to get to this visitor attraction. Let’s also not forget the impact a local Lidl could have on rejuvenating the Carryduff Centre.
“I seriously question how the Infrastructure Minister expects Carryduff to develop if she is unwilling to put the necessary infrastructure in place to make the town a more desirable place to live, work and start a business.
“This lack of vision is even more apparent when you consider Phase Two is only expected to be delivered in September 2027 at the earliest. I expect Carryduff will continue to grow and develop over these next six years and given large scale projects can often be delayed, it is essential the service is built with foresight. There seems to be a lack of urgency from the Minister and I sincerely hope the extension of the Glider service will not slip past this date.
“We should also not forget we are in the midst of a climate crisis. How are we to encourage commuters to leave their cars at home if the public transport infrastructure is not adequate for their needs? The A24 is one of the most congested roads in Northern Ireland and the Glider extension to Carryduff could go a long way to addressing this issue. As Alliance have highlighted in our party’s Green New Deal, our society is highly car-dependent and we need a sustainable transport system that works for everyone.
“I would encourage all South Belfast constituents to respond to this consultation. Going forward, I will continue to advocate for a Carryduff Glider service and put the case again to the Minister.”