The Comber Greenway
Coordinates: 54°36′04″N 5°53′48″W / 546010°N 58967°W / 546010; -58967
The Comber Greenway is a 7-mile 11 km traffic-free section of the National Cycle Network that runs along the old Belfast-Comber railway line The cycle path starts on Dee Street in east Belfast and finishes at Comber in County Down1 Now completed the Greenway provides an eco-friendly cycle path with views of Stormont and Scrabo Tower The most recent addition to the route was in November 2008 when the final link between Old Dundonald Road/Comber Rd junction and Comber was opened This added 16 miles 26 km to the route2 One section runs through a SLNCI-designated Wetland ecosystem
- 1 Route
- 2 History
- 3 EWAY proposal
- 4 References
- 5 External links
The traffic-free route starts at Dee Street in East Belfast and passes the C S Lewis statue at the Holywood Arches, along the Bloomfield Walkway to Sandown Road where it continues past the PSNI headquarters to a newly installed toucan crossing at the Knock Road
From here it goes to Kings Road, where the Kings Road Scooter Club is based, and on to Abbey Road, through Tullycarnet and Ardcarn to East Link Road in Dundonald
It continues through a wetland area emerging at the Comber Road, Dundonald where there is a toucan crossing
The route continues from Comber Road, Dundonald past the Billy Neill Centre for Soccer Excellence where the former railway line passes near the Enler River Walkers and cyclists can cross the River Enler and farm lanes by a series of reinstated bridges before reaching its end at Belfast Road, Comber
On its route the Greenway passes through former Belfast and County Down Railway stations at Bloomfield, Neill's Hill, Knock, Dundonald before finishing just short of Comber station
The current route of the Greenway was originally the main line of the Belfast and County Down Railway3 The railway was in use from 1850s until 1950 when the Ulster Transport Authority closed it Through the 1950s the track was lifted in phases and infrastructure, including bridges, removed The remains of Neill's Hill station survive near Sandown Road behind Clara Park and Sandhill Gardens
In 1964 it was proposed that a section of what is now the Greenway be utilised for the M7 Motorway project4 This motorway was not built The Belfast Urban Area Plan 2001 included a proposal for a smaller-scale road along the same route, but that was never built either
By late in the century the Greenway had become a recreation path for walkers, cyclists etc In 2003–04 the Knock Valley Relief Sewer was installed from Ballymacarett to Dundonald resulting in substantial excavation along the path Subsequently a number of government agencies contributed funds to upgrade the Greenway with a modern hard surface, road crossings and, with the opening of the section alongside Police Headquarters, a continuous route from inner Belfast to Comber It was officially opened on 8 November 2008
EWAY proposaleditMain article: EWAY
As part of the Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan 2015 published in November 2004, a rapid transport scheme was proposed for three routes in Belfast The route to the east of the city, dubbed EWAY, proposed utilising the Greenway for either a light rail or bus link for Belfast
Consultants Atkins and KPMG subsequently completed a preliminary assessment of the proposals Key conclusions include the preference for bus over light rail on cost grounds and the construction of much of the route along the Greeenway
There is political support for the rapid transit but the EWAY route is contentious56 A campaign group was formed to oppose EWAY using the Greenway and wants it rerouted along Upper Newtownards Road and increased public consultation7 In October 2011 it was announced that EWAY would not include the Comber Greenway in its route8
- ^ 54°33′00″N 5°44′46″W / 54550°N 5746°W / 54550; -5746
- ^ "Roads Service complete new section of Comber Greenway" Northern Ireland Executive 5 October 2007 Retrieved 7 March 2008
- ^ "Dundonald Railway Station, Then and Now…" Retrieved 31 May 2009
- ^ "History – Belfast Urban Motorway & Westlink" Retrieved 31 May 2009
- ^ "Cash for Comber Greenway despite proposals to tear it up" Belfast Telegraph Independent News & Media 28 May 2008 Retrieved 31 May 2009
- ^ "MLA Purvis hits out at Comber Greenway proposal at Stormont" Belfast Telegraph Independent News & Media 15 October 2008 Retrieved 31 May 2009
- ^ Greenway to Staydead link
- ^ "Comber Greenway busway plan dropped" BBC Online 7 October 2011
- "Comber Greenway" Sustrans
- "Comber Greenway" Cycle NI Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland
- "Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan 2015" Department for Regional Development dead link
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