Cyclists have criticised Cork’s transport chiefs for sanctioning a temporary bus-parking arrangement which has led to blockages of bike lanes linking the city to the train station.
Sam McCormack, a member of the Cork Cycling Campaign, said the latest issue affecting the Alfred St bike lanes, which are constantly blocked by illegal parking at weekends, highlights the need for the segregation of bike lanes city-wide.
“These bike lanes should have been segregated from the start but this latest issue is ridiculous for health and safety reasons,” he said.
“The authorities have a duty to make sure cyclists are protected and safe in the city. If a cyclist is forced off the bike lanes onto the road and is injured, who will be responsible?”
The temporary bus parking arrangement on Alfred St was put in place in mid-July to facilitate the laying of a trunk water main on St Patrick’s Quay by contractors for Irish Water.
The work has forced the closure of the quay’s parking bays which have been used for several years by private bus operators, including CityLink, Aircoach, GoBe, and Cobh Connects.
The buses have been operating from temporary bus bays on the north side of Alfred St since and the council said the National Transport Authority and the coach operators had been informed.
The council said the temporary bus bays are located in the car parking portion of the Alfred St carriageway so the cycle lane on this side is not closed.
“However it may be blocked from time to time with passengers getting on and off coaches,” it said.
“The cycle lane on the south side of Alfred St, heading towards MacCurtain St is not affected by the relocation of the bus bays, however is on occasion blocked by vehicles parking illegally. This is an enforcement issue and not due to the relocation of the bus bays,” it said.
However, Mr McCormack said several buses have been forced to park in these bike lanes too.
“The question is why bother putting in this kind of cycling infrastructure if it’s constantly being abused and cyclists can’t use it?” he said.
“Gardaí say it’s a council issue and the council says it’s an enforcement issue but still the problems continue. We’ve exhausted all avenues but the responses are really disappointing.”
The council said to ease the pressure on Alfred St, it has relocated long-term coach parking to Victoria Road and provided a banks man to direct the buses.
“We have also taken the additional measure of ordering extra signage to make other road users more aware of cyclists using the road,” it said.
“Again this is a temporary situation that will be resolved once the work on Patrick’s Quay is finished. The signage is to warn motorists to be aware of cyclists as they may have to divert into the main carriageway.”
The road works are due to finish in mid-August but the council said it hopes the project will finish sooner.