The lord mayor of Cork has called for the development of a necklace of park-and-ride facilities on the outskirts of the city before a €54m events centre opens in the city centre.
Mary Shields said the time for talking about developing a network of out-of-city car parks is over, and that it was now time for the council to deliver.
Developing such a network would ensure the city will escape chronic congestion during major events at the 6,000-seat capacity venue which is due to be developed on the former Beamish and Crawford site on South Main St, said Ms Shields.
“We must develop a proper transport system for concert or conference goers,” Ms Shields said on 96FM yesterday.
“It’s long overdue and must be examined now before the conference centre opens.
“We already have a 960-space park and ride off the Kinsale Rd.
“But I think we need three more — on the east, west and northside of the city.
“Now is the time to do it. We must procure the sites and develop the park and ride facilities.
“There is no point in providing an events centre if you haven’t provided the infrastructure to cater for it.”
The event centre’s backers, BAM Contractors and Heineken, won the competitive public tender process just before Christmas for a €20m kickstart fund — €12m from the Government and €8m from the city council — to get the events centre off the ground.
Their project at the former Beamish and Crawford site is the centrepiece of the ambitious €150m Brewery Quarter regeneration of the entire site.
However, concerns have been expressed about access to and parking for the proposed events centre.
Ms Shields said that developing park-and-ride facilities around the city would help address this issue and she called on all 31 city councillors to help deliver the facilities.
A network of park-and-ride sites was first proposed over a decade ago. Just one — the 960-space Black Ash site — has been developed.
It was originally hoped to have similar-sized park-and- ride sites on all major access routes to the city — including Dunkettle, Little Island, the Carrigrohane Road, and at Tinker’s Cross on the northside.
However, plans to develop the northside facility were shot down some years ago after opposition that it was earmarked for an open parkland area and lack of funding prevented the development of the Carrigrohane park and ride site.
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