As I explained during the Adjournment debate on 3 October 2000, my Department is endeavouring to tackle this problem by several means.
First, we introduced Belfast’s first quality bus corridor in late June 2000. Secondly, we intend providing a park-and-ride facility at Cairnshill. This is dependent on planning approval and the availability of the necessary land and resources. Finally, we are giving due consideration to the provision of a dedicated busway, a "superroute" between Cairnshill and the city centre. This is a potential long-term project and Translink, in conjunction with my Department, has commissioned consultants to evaluate the merits and environmental impacts of alternative alignments for the busway.
The thrust of each of these measures is towards developing alternative modes of transport. In this context consultants are due to be appointed shortly to carry out a study and help produce a Belfast metropolitan transport plan. This study will include proposals for the city centre and transport corridors, including the southern approaches, and it will be carried out in conjunction with the preparation of the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan, which has recently commenced.
I assure the Member and the House that Roads Service is continuing to monitor and review traffic conditions on the Saintfield Road and to identify the nature and location of additional safety measures that might be employed along that important arterial route. Roads Service is also investigating other measures that can assist in dealing with the increasing level and volume of traffic on what is, I accept, a very busy and important arterial route into Belfast city centre. We are looking at a number of options and would be prepared to consider in the foreseeable future other choices that would materialise once the bus corridors and the other aspects that I have outlined have been operational for a time.