Cyclists have branded upgrades to a “strategic transport corridor” in Cork as nothing more than a “glorified road re-surfacing gig”.
Members of the Cork Cycling Campaign said the overhaul of the Sarsfield Road, which it was hoped would prioritise buses and cyclists, will do little to promote sustainable transport in the long term.
Conn Donovan, a member of the campaign, said the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets is very clear: To promote safer streets and more sustainable transport, designers must consider first the needs of pedestrians, then cyclists, then public transport users and finally private vehicle motorists.
“This project design seems to have flipped this advice on its head,” he said.
The road has been identified as part of a key transport corridor running from the western suburbs, along Wilton Road and into the city, in the soon-to-be-published Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Study which will outline the development of an efficient and reliable bus network, and the development of more bike lanes over the next 20 years.
But Mr Donovan said the Sarsfield Road element has failed to deliver on two key aims — providing continuous bus lanes and good-quality bike lanes.
We told the Council in our formal consultation that this project would do nothing to improve sustainable transport on this corridor.
It's a glorified road re-surfacing gig. pic.twitter.com/cNkaaeUP7D— Cork Cycling Campaign 🚲 (@CorkCyclingCrew) December 27, 2018
Much of the design could be described as “tokenism”, he said, with bus lanes 40m long, bike lanes that stop as soon as they start, and pedestrian paths that turn into bike lanes.
He said with the N40 the South Link running at 120% capacity, gridlock in and around the city during morning and evening rush hour, national climate change commitments, and the huge growth in population and employment numbers expected in Cork in the coming years, difficult decisions will be needed about how road space is used.
“We can continue on the current path with 70% of commuters driving to work/college and half of trips under 5km being taken in cars, but it’s likely that we will have a city that will suffer from chronic gridlock, poor quality of life and that struggles to attract investment, talent and employment,” said Mr Donovan.
“Alternatively, we can provide real and substantive infrastructure to encourage people out of their cars and onto bicycles or buses or to walk.
“On a practical level, this often means that we will need to take road space off cars.
“Build for cars, you will get cars. Build for sustainable transport and you will get sustainable transport.”
Works in the area are substantially complete with no further traffic disruption anticipated as a result of ongoing tidy-up works.