Gardens under threat from Cork bus lane proposal

Property owners on one of Cork’s busiest roads could lose part of their front gardens under draft plans for new bus lanes.

Engineering plans for a public transport-focused overhaul of the Wilton Road in the western suburbs aim to provide six lanes on the key arterial route — a bus lane and a bike lane city-bound and outbound, and a single traffic lane each way for regular vehicular traffic.

The first phase, which will focus on the stretch between the Wilton roundabout and Dennehy’s Cross, will require the use of a portion of several front gardens — up to four metres in some cases — along the western side of the road. It is expected to impact the car park in front of the Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit.

The plans also include the shifting of traffic flow through the busy Dennehy’s Cross junction slightly westwards, and the installation of traffic lights at the junction of Wilton Gardens.

It is expected that upgrades to the rest of the road will be undertaken later when funding is secured for the installation of traffic lights on the Wilton roundabout, near Cork University Hospital.

While the use of compulsory purchase orders (CPO) has been discussed, it is understood that City Hall will seek to secure whatever land it needs through agreement and that CPOs will be considered only as a last resort.

The council’s roads committee will be briefed on the status of this project, and on a docklands junction upgrade, on Monday.

“Both projects are at preliminary design stage and will in due course be subject to public consultation under the Part 8 planning process,” the council said last night.

As with other road improvement schemes, additional land will be required and affected landowners will be advised before the public consultation process commences.

The Wilton Road has been identified as a crucial link in what will become one of the city’s most important public transport corridors.

The National Transport Authority’s (NTA) Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Study, which is due to be published for public consultation soon, is expected to set out plans for more bus lanes and more bike lanes on this route, and citywide.

Some €200m in Government funding has been earmarked for the BusConnects scheme in Cork over the next decade.

In Dublin, more than 1,000 homeowners are facing the loss of a portion of their front gardens under the NTA’s BusConnects scheme for the capital.

The NTA has said that householders who lose part of their front garden will get compensation of around €25,000 on average. Most would lose two to three metres.

The massive bus corridor project will involve the construction of 230km of continuous bus priority lanes and 200km of cycle tracks, along 16 core bus corridor routes.

A total of 345 households are affected by four routes in phase one, which would also see the loss of 232 on-street parking spaces and 514 roadside trees.

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