City officials have ruled out temporary public access to Cork city's newest public park through a maintenance gate.
The Green Party has expressed "huge disappointment" following confirmation that the Half Moon Lane access to Tramore Valley Park will remain closed to pedestrians and cyclists this summer.
The news comes just days ahead of the first anniversary of the park's official opening.
Just three kilometres from the city centre, the 70-hectare park with walkways and trails has 400 parking spaces accessed via its main entrance off the South Link Road.
But there is only one safe access point for pedestrians and cyclists — via a walkway from the South Douglas Road.
There have been numerous calls for the council to open its maintenance gate on Half Moon Lane to the public.
But councillors in the south-central ward were told on Monday that officials are sticking to their long-term plan to make safe the lane's junction with South Douglas Rd before opening the gate to the public. They were shown preliminary drawings of proposed junction improvements.
Cllr Mick Finn, who as Lord Mayor last year cut the ribbon to open the park, said it is good to see some progress being made but added that "it is still some way from being resolved' and he urged patience.
"The bottom line is that the city council will not facilitate temporary or other access to the park at present at Half Moon Lane while the safety of pedestrians or cyclists could be compromised coming in from one of the city’s busiest roads,” he said.
“There is a genuine fear that the current main road intersection with Half Moon Lane is too dangerous…there is no footpath at all on one side of the road and two blind corners exiting the lane are seen as detrimental to the safety of walkers or cyclists."
But Green Cllr Dan Boyle said it this is highly unsatisfactory: “It shows a certain lack of imagination. We’re in unprecedented times, and opening this entrance to the park now would allow so many more people to enjoy the park. For a lot of these people Tramore Valley is the only comparable green space nearby."
Labour Cllr John Maher said there was no public consultation on the depedestrianisation of Oliver Plunkett St: "It's amazing what can be done without consultation - like open up pedestrian streets to cars but then we can’t open up a public park access to cyclists and pedestrians," he said.
This morning I am spending some time at Tramore Valley Park. It's a lovely day to be here. Quite a few people are enjoying what the park has to offer. It is coming up to a year since the park was officially opened. pic.twitter.com/vAs6FPzioR— Cllr. Dan Boyle (@sendboyle) May 12, 2020
The park has been developed on the site of the former Kinsale Road landfill which was decommissioned in 2013 and underwent a €40m environmental remediation.