Proposed bus route is 'madness'

(Above) The pedestrian link between Lakepoint and Gleann Petit would be removed to make way for a new bus service.

Opposition is mounting to the council’s proposal to run a new bus route through two of Mullingar’s largest private housing estates.

As part of the new bus service being planned for the town, the council and the National Transport Authority have identified three options for its ‘Mu1’ route between the Dublin Road and its terminus at the Lakepoint Retail Park. The first option would put the new service through the Lakepoint and Gleann Petit estates, while the second would see it travel between Bellview Heights and Great Oaks.

Controversially, both options would require the removal of pedestrian links between the neighbouring estates and the installation of “bus gates”, that open when a bus or an emergency vehicle approaches.

The Gleann Petit Residents Association wants the council to choose its third option for the ‘Mu1’ service, which would travel along the Dublin Road, N52 and N4 before it terminates at Lakepoint Shopping centre.

The residents group has set up an online petition, which at the time of writing had received more than 150 signatures.

It says that members oppose the opening of cul de sacs in these “quiet neighbourhoods” and want to “maintain the status quo”. One Gleann Petit resident, who asked not to be named, said that it was “absolute madness” that the council was considering opening cul-de-sacs between residential estates for the new service.

She said that many residents in the estate, particularly those with young families, have “health and safety concerns” about the prospect of a bus route running through the estate, every half an hour from 7am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday, and 9am to 10pm on Sunday.

“I think the bus is a good idea if they get the route right. We have the National Science Park that is going to be one of the big employers, please God. They are doing huge building work down there at the moment. Wouldn’t it be nice to think that there would be a bus for people to go to work from one end of the town to the other?”

A number of people who signed the petition said that a bus route between Gleann Petit and Lakepoint would pose a threat to children living in those areas. “Putting a huge risk to children playing in these estates. This plan would have a negative impact on the appearance of these estates too,” one signatory said.

“Keep Gleann Petit safe for our children. No buses through our estate,” another said.

On the Lakepoint Residents Association page, one poster said that it was a “crazy idea bringing a bus route through two estates with children out playing. We need more ramps, not more traffic.”

Plans for the new bus service are at an advanced stage despite the fact that funding has yet to be secured.

Working with the National Transport Authority, Westmeath County Council says its two routes will connect “all four corners of the Town with the Town Centre, serving all main destinations with over 75% of the town’s population within 400m of a bus stop”.

Members of the public have until March 10 to make submissions on the proposed bus routes.

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