FEARS have been expressed that shoppers will be driven out of Cork after the local authority confirmed plans to introduce a 30km/h (18.64mph) speed limit before next Christmas.
City councils in Waterford and Limerick said they had no plans to follow the lead implemented by Dublin City Council yesterday.
Cork Business Association chief executive Donal Healy, said his 200 members “would have huge concern that shoppers could be driven out” of the city centre.
“We’re endeavouring to attract more shoppers into the city. There will be huge concern that this will make them go elsewhere.”
Ian Winning, a senior executive engineer in Cork City Council’s traffic division, said the lower speed limit was being proposed for most of the central island area. “It will include Patrick Street and Oliver Plunkett Street and all existing side streets off them,” he said.
Mr Winning added that he didn’t yet know if South Mall or Grand Parade would be included in the plan.
“We want to promote pedestrianisation and cycling in the city centre.”
The speed limits would apply on a 24-hour basis.
“The proposal is being put together by the traffic department and we’re consulting with the gardaí at the moment. It will then be put forward for approval by city councillors and hopefully we can implement it before the run-up to the Christmas period,” he said.
The business association is insisting the city’s ratepayers should be consulted.
“We should be attracting shoppers into our city. Shoppers come in cars and not on bicycles. We have already lost a lot of off-street parking. Just because Dublin decides to implement this doesn’t mean we should immediately follow suit. We should see the fall-out from Dublin first. I’m surprised we’re jumping on this so quickly,” Mr Healy said.
He said the business association had put a number of proposals to city council to make it easier for shoppers to come into Cork. Studies in Cork and other cities had found that shoppers needed to park for an average of 2.5 hours to carry out their business, Mr Healy stated.
Meanwhile, a Limerick City Council spokeswoman said it was considering proposals to introduce a 20km/h speed limit near schools. It didn’t believe it required a 30km/h speed limit, she said.
Waterford City Council said there were “no proposals at the moment” to reduce speed limits.
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