GAA bids to reduce gridlock on match days

The GAA is to set up a traffic website, make more use of shuttle buses and seek special rates for parking in Cork City to cut down on gridlock when big matches resume after the proposed €70m upgrade of Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

GAA bids to reduce gridlock on match days

Day two of a Bord Pleanála oral hearing into the plan heard that Cork County Board has appointed a full-time ‘mobility officer’ to implement a number of initiatives which will ease traffic congestion around the stadium.

Although not stated at the hearing, it’s understood the county board also plans to introduce real-time traffic updates on match days through Facebook and Twitter.

It is in talks with a number of car park operators in the city to open on Sundays and provide special parking discounts for fans.

The organisation has also been in discussions with the city council and Bus Éireann to run shuttle buses on match days from the Black Ash Park and Ride, via Centre Park Road and Monahan Road, to drop-off and pick-up points at Páirc Uí Rinn.

The option of car pooling from the Black Ash Park and Ride is also being mooted.

However, Des O’Donoghue, on behalf of objectors, Save the Marina Park, said the county board seems only concerned with getting as many people through the turnstiles without worrying about how they got there and what effect it had on the locals.

“This is not just a disservice to residents, but also to loyal fans who are poorly provided with facilities to enable them to safely and conveniently access the board’s grounds.”

He also questioned why the GAA was seeking a 10-year planning permission as “Wembley was built in under four years” and added that he was objecting to “the litter, drunkenness, urination and saturation of village lanes by inconsiderate drivers”, which he claimed accompanied some major match days.

Noise expert Peter Barry, who was employed as a GAA consultant, said “the redevelopment of the stadium and increased capacity to 45,000 [1,500 extra spectators] will not alter the existing scenario significantly during main match days”.

Construction will only take place between 7am and 6pm on weekdays and 8am-2pm on Saturdays.

“Should An Bord Pleanála grant planning permission, any [construction] noise limits set down as a condition of approval will be adhered to,” he said.

The GAA’s traffic management adviser Ciaran O’Callaghan said during construction all HGVs will enter and exit the site through Monahan Road and Centre Park Road.

He said advanced warning would be given to residents and this traffic would only travel in the area at non-rush hour times.

Other experts hired by the board maintain there will be minimal negative impacts on wildlife, both during and post construction.

Bat expert Conor Kelleher said there were no large bat roosts within the development area, but it has been agreed to do a survey before 10 trees are felled on the southern side of the site.

Bord Pleanála is expected to announce its decision on September 22.

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