Banning cars from Cork’s main street as part of a major new traffic plan will improve the city’s vibrancy, promote economic development, and encourage further investment, the city manager said last night.
Tim Lucey also promised extensive and lengthy consultation with traders and the public as the city council embarks on one of the biggest changes to traffic management in the city in almost 30 years.
Councillors agreed to begin a two-month period of public consultation in relation to the Cork City Centre Movement Strategy during last night’s council meeting.
It sets out a vision for how cars, buses, pedestrians, and cyclists will move through the city over the next 20 years.
Under the proposed scheme, access to St Patrick’s St would be limited to buses, taxis, and cyclists, with private cars directed along the quays.
MacCurtain St would become a two-way street, with pedestrians given priority.
Grenville Place at the Mercy University Hospital would be one- way eastbound, with return traffic using Grattan St.
Parnell Place is earmarked for a major safety upgrade to improve facilities for bus users, pedestrians, and cyclists.
And Brian Boru St and the bridge it leads onto would change to two-way.
There are also plans to build new cycle lanes and improve links along key routes, including the route from University College Cork to Kent Station and the docklands.
Mr Lucey said the proposals are the result of “detailed modelling”, are “evidence-based”, and are designed to be coordinated and integrated.
Consultation is already under way with traders, Cork Chamber, gardaí, and Bus Éireann, and Mr Lucey encouraged the public to view the plans which will be advertised later this week.
Submissions gathered over the next two months will inform a revised draft which should be ready by the end of February, with final proposals due by March.
The National Transport Authority-funded strategy will be implemented in eight phases, over the next four to five years, with St Patrick’s St earmarked to change first.
Councillors broadly welcomed the report but some urged caution.
Cllr Des Cahill (FG) said it proposed vast changes and the onus is on the council to communicate those changes to the public.
Cllr Chris O’Leary (SF) said it is vitally important that the consultation is all inclusive.
Cllr Joe O’Callaghan (FG) predicted total chaos on Merchant’s Quay and South Mall if bus lane proposals and footpath widening in those areas go ahead.
But Cllr Sean Martin (FF) said: “The problem now is we’re anti-car and this seems to be driving all the agendas.”
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