Minister defends bike lane projects amid criticism

The public transport minister and Cork’s city manager have both defended road and cycle lane projects which have caused chaos in parts of the city.

Minister Alan Kelly said he would be criticised if he couldn’t provide the level of investment which has been ploughed into new road layouts on Washington St and Pope’s Quay — both of which have been redesigned after construction work was completed.

City councillors forced another scheme earmarked for the Lower Glanmire Rd back to the drawing board last week after local objections.

Mr Kelly said it would not be positive if Cork turned down this level of capital investment in such projects. “Can issues be tweaked? Of course issues can be tweaked,” Mr Kelly said.

“But there is a substantial amount of investment going on across the city.

“So in some cases you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t,” Mr Kelly said, adding that he is “determined that the capital works that are funded, and the work that is done, is not going to be lost”.

“I am determined that taxpayers’ money is spent wisely and correctly, and that this city is modernised from a transport point of view.”

Gardaí and taxi-drivers both criticised the design and layout of the Washington St revamp.

Mr Kelly said the designs “are not just picked out of the sky”.

“In general, all of these schemes and the standards by which they have been built are rigorously tested,” he said.

“The way we manage transportation can’t be for just one sector — it can’t be just for pedestrians, can’t be just for drivers, can’t be just for buses.”

City manager Tim Lucey said the schemes have been designed to the highest European standards, and that costs of any “limited tweaks” would be minor.

He also defended the level of public consultation relating to each of the schemes.

Meanwhile, Mr Kelly said he hopes to launch the public bike-share scheme in Cork this summer.


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