No quick traffic fix for Little Island

Thousands of workers will have to suffer gridlock for at least another year, or two, before major traffic congestion into one of the country’s top industrial estates can be resolved.

No quick traffic fix for Little Island

Tailbacks into the heavily-industrialised village of Little Island in the Cork area continue to lengthen at peak times, and frustration experienced by commuters on a daily basis is reflected in an online petition demanding action.

The petition is calling for a third entrance to be created on the Cobh Cross side of Little Island to relieve gridlock. The village, off the main Waterford road, is on the outskirts of Cork city.

Cork County Council confirmed it will appoint consultants next month to draw up a transportation study.

Senior officials said it is intended the study will outline a strategy for the management of traffic and other movement issues such as walking, cycling, public transport and schools travel for the existing development on Little Island, and also for future planned development in the area.

The council is aiming for its first public consultation on the plans in April. It envisages a final draft report to be in place by the year end or early 2018.

Councillors in the Cobh/Glanmire municipal district council will have to to decide if a second round of public consultation is required before the report is ratified.

Cllr Padraig O’Sullivan, leading a campaign to improve traffic flow in the area, was “extremely disappointed” the transportation study would take so long to complete as the Little Island problem is now “critical”.

He said massive tailbacks at peak times were an everyday occurrence and it was also having a severe impact on local residents who, at times, feel trapped in their own homes.

He said it was imperative action was taken quickly.

Ultimately, it will be up to Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), formerly the National Roads Authority, to sanction a third entrance to Little Island as it manages the main Cork-Midleton road (N22).

However, Cllr O’Sullivan said the county council should be making immediate plans. He said a likely entrance should be identified on Little Island as the council would have to develop the internal section of the road.

By identifying a route corridor, it could be enshrined in Local Area Plans (LAPs) — the council’s blueprints for future development.

Local residents have expressed anger at council’s plans zoning further land for more industrial purposes, especially as the current road network cannot handle existing traffic. It is estimated around 10,000 workers descend on Little Island daily but, despite a rail link, very few commute by train.

The council’s latest Local Area Plan for Little Island proposes to rezone two more green areas of 150 acres for industrial purposes.

Part of that land will include the former Harbour Point Golf Club which closed some years ago.

Currently, 250 acres of land has been zoned for industry but remains unused, with a further 100 acres of unused brownfield sites in Little Island that can be redeveloped.

More than 100 local residents attended a recent meeting and many expressed anger at an overemphasis on industrialisation.

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