Cyclists in Cork have urged City Hall to consider increasing the cost of on-street parking by up to €1 an hour and use the extra income to promote more sustainable forms of transport such as bus, walking and cycling.
The Cork Cycling Campaign has also called on city chiefs to reconsider parking promotions and said the narrative that cheaper parking helps to bring more shoppers into the city centre must be challenged.
“Active travel and sustainable transport can bring thousands more people into the city centre each hour and therefore needs to be prioritised,” spokesman Conn Donovan said.
“Parking is the one thing which the city centre will never be able to compete against the retail parks on the edge of the city,” the group said.
“Cork City centre should play to its strengths - the many wonderful local businesses, the architecture, the river, the museums and galleries. It should be marketed as a premium experience for visitors and not somewhere you need to convince people to visit by waving a parking promotion in their face.”
The group said the current €2 an hour on-street parking rate is a euro less than many multi-storey car parks, and way below other cities, including Dublin (€3.50), Bristol (€3.20) and Utrecht (€5.35).
“It’s all well and good for local councillors or some traders to come out and call for additional park and rides as an attempt to tick the green box but the reality is we can’t fill the only park and ride we have now,” Conn Donovan said.
Data from the Cork Parking Dashboard in the days coming up to Christmas showed that Black Ash park and ride was running at between 30%-50% empty.
"Why go to the bother of using the park and ride when there is free on-street parking on Sundays and it’s only €2 an hour on the other days?
"As more and more people live and work in Cork, it’s going to be harder and harder to drive into the city centre and secure parking once you get there.
“Add in the 200kms of primary cycle network and upgraded footpaths along with 100km of dedicated bus routes as envisaged under the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy and it’s very likely there will beminimal on-street parking left at all.”