Reintroduction of car ban in Cork City's main street set for August 9

St Patrick's St during the first car ban

Half-price parking deals, an extended park and ride bus service and new city centre set-down areas are some parts of a new package of measures planned as part of the reintroduction of the controversial afternoon car ban on Cork city's main street.

The new measures will come into effect from August 9 when City Hall makes its second attempt to introduce bus priority corridors on St Patrick's Street.

The traffic management proposal remains unchanged with plans to limit access to the city's main street to buses, taxis, emergency vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists from 3pm to 6.30pm every day.

The so-called 'Pana car ban', a key element of the City Centre Movement Strategy (CCMS), was suspended amid controversy in April just three weeks after its launch.

City centre traders branded it a complete disaster and said the new traffic measures had decimated afternoon trade.

But City Hall said it hadn't been given enough time to bed in and was beginning to work, delivering improved bus journey times on some routes of up to 28%.

However, city councillors bowed to pressure in April and voted to suspend the car ban to facilitate more detailed consultation.

Officials told councillors last night that they have spent the last two months working on a suite of measures to improve and encourage access to the city centre.

Officials say traffic congestion in Cork is now worse than it was at the height of the economic boom in 2007, with an estimated two-thirds of the 110,000 vehicles entering the city centre every day using it as a “through route” to other destinations.

Last year, 12.6 million people used city bus services with almost 1,000 bus movements on St Patrick's St every day.

* Read more on the detail of the proposed measures in tomorrow's Irish Examiner.

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