Crunch talks on city congestion after Patrick Street car ban controversy

By Kevin O'Neill

Senior City Hall officials and business chiefs will meet on Monday to discuss ways to tackle congestion in the city centre following the decision to ‘pause’ the Patrick Street car ban.

It is the first meeting of the CORE Group, which includes businesses, City Hall chiefs and other stakeholders since the controversial Patrick Street restrictions were shelved last week.

It is understood the meeting will assess the current situation regarding traffic in the city and focus on long-term solutions and the future of the City Centre Movement Strategy.

Pat Ledwidge, deputy chief executive at City Hall, stressed the importance of an open dialogue between traders and the local authority.

Mr Ledwidge said that Cork is in a good place at present and that this is an important message to send.

“Ultimately, nobody will want to come into a city choked with traffic,” he said.

"We are in a good place at present. In the last few weeks, we have seen planning permission granted for a number of city hotels, major steps taken in terms of office development and other projects."

The restrictions had banned private cars from Patrick Street between 3pm and 6.30pm daily.

They lasted just three weeks amid growing pressure from traders, who claimed it has caused a collapse in city trade.

City Hall opted to pause the restrictions until August 9 to allow for further consultation with all stakeholders.

It is expected that city traders will present alternatives to the car ban and propose a number of initiatives to enhance the city centre, such as on-street festivals and parking incentives.

City Hall had introduced a range of parking incentives to encourage shoppers back to the city centre, including the operation of the Kinsale Road park and ride for free, and it is expected that traders will seek to retain these for as long as possible.

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