Divis Street is one five city arterial routes cut by the massive infrastructure of the Westlink during the 1970’s and 80’s. The arteries are now empty and inhibiting places to walk and cycle, the road acts as a de–facto zone separating the West and North of the city, some 40% of the entire city population.
However, government polices stated within the DRD Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan and DSD policy on overcoming physical exclusion from jobs and education opportunities now clearly define that this severance should be comprehensively solved.
The Divis project works on the simple premise that city roads are avenues that create the value for the buildings that should border them. Buildings edging streets tend to add to rhythm and a natural sense of safety for those walking on pavements. Thus the publicly owned vacant land can be sold, in a design led framework creating economic value and reducing the motorway severance. The sites are however technically difficult and require good integrated design and leadership to ‘de–risk’, ensuring their true value can be obtained.
The project was being progressed in 2010 with assistance from SIB and DRD Roads Service. The delivery mechanism for these sites will require local management and leadership, and interdepartmental working from within government. Forum continues to work with government and local partners to create a successful change.
quotes from DRD Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan BMTP and Rapid Transit Key principles:
Divis Street is identified as a key city walking network
streetscape improvements and removal of obstacles that accommodates all age groups and levels of mobility
Pedestrian facilities that are designed to improve road safety, increase personal security and reduce severance
to reduce the impact of traffic and assisting the free flow of traffic
increase the priority given to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport
improving pedestrian and cycle linkages throughout the urban centre
support development proposals and urban regeneration and renaissance
The improvement of walk access/egress to/from bus stops as part of the roll–out of the walking network proposals