Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015
District Proposals: Metropolitan Newtownabbey Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan
In addition to the proposed road and rail improvements as set out above, BMTP also propose a number of transportation initiatives within the Borough which include:-
- Modifications to the Sandyknowes roundabout comprising signalisation and layout modifications, with greater priority given to strategic M2/A8 movements;
- The improvement of the rail services between Antrim and Belfast and between Carrickfergus and Belfast;
- The development of Quality Bus Corridor (QBC) routes to/from Belfast City Centre that will serve both Glengormley Local Centre and Abbey Centre District Centre;
- The provision of informal Park and Ride facilities at Ballyhenry, supported by bus priority measures on the M2; and
- The roll-out of a Route Management system along the M2, A8, M5 and A2 comprising a series of measures that would improve the safety and efficiency of the strategic network serving Newtownabbey.
In order to encourage greater use of public transport and more walking and cycling, thereby reducing car dependency, a range of measures are proposed which include:-
- The development of an integrated network of Quality Walking Routes and cycle routes including the provision of improved links to the bus/rail station; and
- Improvements to local bus services including the QBC network and improved frequencies on core local routes to Ballyclare.
BMTP also proposes a number of measures aimed at improving the quality of the urban environment in the Newtownabbey area. This includes proposals for traffic calming on the non strategic road network to, where appropriate, discourage traffic from using local roads, improve road safety and reduce the impact of traffic.
BMTP proposes that options to complete the dualling of the A8 are retained. The provision of the Ballynure north-east link on the A8 is also proposed. It is expected that the implementation of these schemes will be outside the 2015 Plan period.
After the Plan period more significant infrastructure improvements will be required to cater for traffic at the Sandyknowes junction. BMTP identifies the provision of a new junction on the M2 north of the existing Sandyknowes junction as a means of providing greater capacity at Sandyknowes and reducing or eliminating many of the conflicting movements at the existing roundabout which give rise to congestion.
It is considered that this scale of improvement will be required very soon after the end of the 2015 Plan period in order to cater for the projected travel demand and to support the Mallusk/Ballyhenry Employment/Industrial area. It is therefore proposed that planning for this level of improvement is commenced within the Plan period.