Showing posts with label Westlink. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Westlink. Show all posts

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

What I learned from the FAB Summer School 2012

Anna Skoura works with the Forum for Alternative Belfast and is a contributor to the PLACE Blog. She reports on the Forum's recent Summer School, "Re-stitching the city" held at Belfast City Hall from 13th-17th August.

The Forum for Alternative Belfast (FAB) 2012 Summer school took place two weeks ago (13-17 August) in the City Hall. The event was organised in collaboration with the East (EWPB) and West Belfast Partnership Boards (WBPB). The theme was “Re-stitching the city” and its primary goal was to address the very poor connection of the city centre with East and West Belfast. This is the fourth FAB Summer school, after 2009 which resulted to the "missing city map", 2010 which focused on North Belfast and 2011 on South Belfast. It followed the same structure: presentations for the first two days, public consultation on Tuesday and Wednesday evening and workshops during the rest of the week.
Photo by David Bunting
The organisers along with Belfast’s governmental and community bodies (Belfast City Council, East and West Belfast Partnership boards, Department for Social Development (DSD), Department of Environment (DOE), Department for regional Development (DRD)) presented their views and future projects related to the study areas.

Right from the start, it was interesting to see the distinctive approach that East and West Partnership representatives held during their opening presentations. Maurice Kinkead (CEO of EBPB) in an optimistic manner highlighted the positive impact of the Partnership’s recent activity in certain areas of East Belfast, while Geraldine McAteer (WBPB), very concerned, underlined West Belfast’s challenges and most urgent needs. Regarding the presentations given by the different Departments, the lack of a comprehensive vision for the city’s future and the lack of inter-departmental collaboration becomes evident. Sadly, clashing projects are sometimes the result.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Westlink: Solution or Problem?

The Westlink (part of the original Belfast Urban Motorway which never was) attracts a wide range of opinion from experts examining the political, engineering and social impact and residents to whom the road is part of everyday life. There is no question that the road is a key route in modern Belfast, but could it have been implemented differently? BBC Radio Ulster's 'The Gathering' (available on iPlayer) examines some of these issues...

How the Belfast Urban Motorway system could have appeared.
In this image you can see the Ormeau Road and the Gasworks.

The Gathering: Episode Three (31 July 2011)
Belfast Urban Motorway 
As the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Westlink passes, John Bennett considers the controversial plans for the Belfast Urban Motorway, and why it never came to fruition.
Three decades ago when the West Link was opened the motorists of Belfast were hoping that the endless queues and jams were at an end. The idea of joining the two main motorways had been part of a much bigger plan called the Belfast Urban Motorway - a six lane, stilt-borne thoroughfare which was to encircle the city and continue across Belfast Lough via a brand new bridge. Alas it never happened! The traffic continued to build up - the jams increased. 
The onset of The Troubles added to the problems and the newly constructed carriageway became a concrete dividing line between communities. 
This week we examine the political, engineering and social problems which have beset the scheme since its inception and ask if the planners could have done better.

The Westlink ('canyon section') as it appears today.
Photo by Wesley Johnston from

The episode is available on iPlayer for 3 more days until Sunday 7th August. Definitely worth a listen!

Click Here for the BBC iPlayer page to listen. (Length: 25 Mintues)

Also available on iPlayer is a clip from 'Tomorrow's Road' (first broadcast in 1972) which outlined some of the construction challenges with the Belfast Urban Motorway.

Click Here for the BBC iPlayer page to listen. (Length: 2 Minutes)