Plan for new bike lanes in Cork given a cautious welcome

Plan for new bike lanes in Cork given a cautious welcome
Bike lane on the footpath

Cyclists have given a cautious welcome to plans for new bike lanes in Cork but said even if all are delivered, there still won’t be a continuous cycle route from the city centre to any suburb.

The Cork Cycling Campaign was reacting to the publication on Monday night of a map showing the extent of new bike lanes which the city council plans to deliver over the coming months as part of its Covid-19 recovery plan, combined with a significant extension westwards of the city’s public bike scheme.

A number of temporary bike lanes are also planned along routes including Melbourne Rd, Vicar’s Rd, Harbour View Rd, the South Mall, Centre Park Rd, Monahan Rd, Boreenmanna Rd, and on the Mallow Rd.

But campaign spokesman Conn Donovan said while it is encouraging to see, the plan doesn't go far enough.

“A fractured bike network will only ever appeal to roughly 5% of people in any city. To put it another way, only 5% of people cycle in Cork because we have designed the city that way.” 

Councillors were briefed during Monday’s council meeting about a raft of measures planned to improve mobility in and around the city.

It includes 11 new docking stations for the public bike scheme at County Hall, Mardyke Walk, Gaol Walk, Brookfield, Dennehy’s Cross, CUH, Albert Quay West/Victoria Rd, Connaught Avenue, Kenley, Model Farm Rd and CIT, with tenders for enabling works due to issue over the coming months.

Crucially, the NTA is also set to audit existing stations and bikes to ensure "appropriate maintenance".

But councillors were also told that construction will start on 11 cycle routes “within the next number of months” with consultation due to start on the planning for three more schemes.

Tenders for the Horgan’s Quay segregated inbound cycle lane from the Lower Glanmire Rd are due in by June 12, with tenders for the Skehard Rd scheme now being considered.

Phase 1 of the Lee to Sea Greenway, from the Marina to Mahon, is expected to go to tender in August to deliver some 2.5km of cycle way, with design and planning of Phase 2 being done as construction takes place.

Works for the Model Farm Rd to Carrigrohane Rd bike lane and the Togher Public Realm project are expected to be tendered in early Autumn.

Part 8 proposals for bus, walking, cycling and public realm improvements along MacCurtain St are due to be published later this month.

Mr Donovan said: “I was surprised to see so many schemes that were announced over 12 months ago included on the map and it gives the impression that the council were keen to show they were doing ‘something’ about cycling.

“With bus capacity down by 80% for the foreseeable future, thousands of people are going to need alternative forms of transport, particularly come September when schools are back.

“Some will have the option to drive but many wouldn’t. Pop-up cycle lanes are only going to be attractive and effective if they link into existing cycle lanes that don’t end abruptly and leave people feeling exposed to traffic."

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