The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has assured motorists that it has “made changes” to try to alleviate traffic problems in and around the Titanic Quarter.
There have been long tailbacks in the area at peak times, particularly on Queen’s Road and Sydenham Road, following the introduction of new bus lanes earlier this week.
Even bus services that were supposed to benefit from the new road layout have been impacted by the traffic chaos.
Some drivers reported that journeys which previously took them a few minutes were taking up to an hour due to the gridlock.
Following calls from angry commuters and some politicians for the new system, which will facilitate the new Glider rapid transport system, to be suspended, the DfI said it recognised people’s concerns, but asked them to be patient.
Having revised traffic light timings in the area in a bid to reduce congestion, the DfI said it now needs to monitor the new system and its impact on the traffic situation over a period of time.
“The Department recognises the concerns of those caught up in traffic in Titanic Quarter and has made changes to try to alleviate the problem. We would ask for patience as any change needs to be seen over a period of time to see what the impacts are on the traffic situation. The operation of the traffic signals is being continuously monitored,” a DfI spokesman said.
“At peak times, the road network in Belfast is at full capacity or over capacity. With new development the number of cars on our roads will continue to grow and this will make the situation worse if we do not act.
“One of the ways all major cities try to tackle congestion is through increased usage of public transport. The Glider service is the flagship improvement for Belfast and will provide comfortable, reliable and quicker services. It can only do that because of the bus lanes and other bus priority measures being introduced.
“We recognise those measures will cause some disruption but experience from elsewhere is that, in general, this is relatively quickly addressed as drivers become accustomed to the new road layouts and some start to use the enhanced services or find other routes.”
The new Glider bus services are due to come into operation on routes in east and west Belfast next month.