York Street Interchange, Belfast
On Thursday 6th December 2012, at 10.30am, at the Ramada Encore Hotel, Talbot Street, Belfast, the Minister for Regional Development, Mr Danny Kennedy, announced the Roads Services Preferred Option for the York Street Interchange:
Between Larne Harbour and Cork road traffic runs seamlessly with the exception of two traffic lights, one just off the M50 in Dublin and the other at the York Street junction with the Westlink in Belfast.
In June 2011, for two days, the Roads Service exhibited their four options for removing this traffic light at York Street, known as the York Street Interchange. Two options involved partially tunnelling the roads and two options involved high rise flyovers. Option B, a flyover, being the most expensive at £100million.
84 groups and individuals submitted a response to the proposals.
The Forum for Alternative Belfast responded to the Road Service and suggested that a modified version of option C, partially tunnelled, would meet the Road Service requirements and allow for the re–stitching of the urban structure of inner north Belfast. The planning of the new infrastructure to be considered as a strategic urban design opportunity and not a “roads only” project.
The Forum also requested that Options B and D, the flyover options, be discarded as the impact of an 18m high motorway flyover with heavy vehicles driving through the city at the height of a 6 storey building would permanently sever north Belfast’s communities from the emerging education and employment opportunities in the city centre and the Titanic Quarter.
For the past 18 months the Forum for Alternative Belfast have requested the Roads Service to respond and engage with the 84 groups who took time to respond to the proposals. The Roads Service refused to respond to the 84 groups and the Forum took the matter up directly with the Minister responsible for Roads, Mr Danny Kennedy. The Forum met with the Minister in May 2012 and requested that he instruct his officials to engage with the responding groups.
The Minister replied in writing stating he would discuss the regeneration aspects of the scheme with the Minister of the Department for Social Development, Mr Nelson McCausland. The Forum wrote to the DSD Minister who replied suggesting a meeting “once the Regional Development Minister has announced his decision”
On Thursday 6th December 2012, at 11.30 am, immediately after the Roads Service announcement, and also in the Ramada Encore, Belfast, the Forum for Alternative Belfast held a press conference to respond immediately to the Ministers decision. A panel responded to the decision followed by a short open floor Q&A.
The panel included Rev Campbell Dixon( St Anne’s Cathedral), Patricia Freedman(Cathedral Quarter Steering Group) and John Mc Corry(North Belfast Partnership Board). There will also be representation from the University of Ulster and the local neighbourhood groups and businesses closely affected by the decision.
Artists Deirdre McKenna and Paddy Bloomer made a life–sized lorry that was hoisted into the air at the same height as the proposed fly–over to publicly draw attention to the issue.
Forum for Alternative Belfast are happy to announce that the Roads Services preferred option was Option C.
Click link for Belfast Telegraph coverage.
Audience members at the panel discussion
The truck made by Deirdre McKenna and Paddy Bloomer hoisted in the air