Medics led a cycle-bus ride across Cork city today to present a petition to City Hall, signed by more than 3,000 people, calling for a protected bike lane between the city’s large hospitals.
The Irish Doctors for the Environment (IDE) group said they hope Cork City Council takes on board the public appetite for a bike lane linking Cork University Hospital (CUH), the Bon Secours Hospital and the Mercy University Hospital, and delivers the infrastructure fast.
A council spokesperson said the new programme for government has committed significant increases in funding to walking and cycling infrastructure which will provide "exciting opportunities to deliver the council’s longstanding objective to transition to more sustainable modes of transport".
“The Lord Mayor was delighted to accept the petition and it will be considered in the ongoing development of plans to improve the cycle network in the area,” he said.
Members of the Cork Cycling Campaign joined medics near CUH in Wilton, and cycled to City Hall where they were joined by many other cycling advocates, to present the petition to Lord Mayor, Cllr Joe Kavanagh, who was joined by the chief executive of Cork City Council, Ann Doherty.
Dr Vincent Wall, an anaesthesiology trainee who was a key figure in the petition campaign, thanked them for agreeing to accept the petition.
He urged the council to seize the opportunity presented by the Covid-19 crisis to deliver better cycling infrastructure and to do so quickly.
“There has been a lot of progress but we would be concerned that the window of opportunity is being missed,” he said.
“The 1994 Road Traffic Act allows for the creation of pop-up bike lanes but there is some frustration that Cork hasn’t used that to create the infrastructure as other cities have done.
“We would urge them to seize this opportunity. There is so much potential here in this city to harness.
“Our proposal is for an education and health corridor - but it is also about connectivity, about building a city that is resilient, and orientated towards human health - not dependent on cars, but on mobility and independence."
The president of UCC, Prof Patrick O’Shea, was among those to sign the petition. Also backing the proposal are Cork GAA legend Dr Con Murphy, Dr Rodney Meek, the recently retired consultant anesthesiologist and intensive care consultant at CUH, Prof George Shorten, Professor of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine at UCC, Dr Ng Mei Yee, a specialist registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology at CUMH, and Consultant Anaesthesiologist at CUH, and Consultant Radiation Oncologist Dr Paul Kelly.
Meanwhile, city officials have responded to concerns about the enforcement of recently-introduced pedestrianisation measures after fears some motorists were ignoring the measures and moving road-closed signs on Paul St.
What they were able to implement was a full closure to vehicular traffic on the road from its junction with Rory Gallagher Place to St Patrick’s St, with a barrier and pencil bollards.
But it's a shared surface - cars and pedestrians - from its junction with the Coal Quay to Rory Gallagher Place.
“The shared surface sign is located at the side of the road which is where it is supposed to be and is not being moved,” a spokesman said.
“We cannot use more permanent structures as emergency services, such as fire brigade, ambulance and gardaí need 24/7 access and need to be able to move the temporary road closed signs.”