An ambitious multi-million regeneration of Cork’s historic MacCurtain Street has been unveiled as part of a wider plan to upgrade the city’s public transport network.
City councillors are being briefed on the details of the MacCurtain Street public transport improvement scheme - the latest phase of Cork City Council’s City Centre Movement Strategy (CCMS) which has been designed to deliver major benefits for bus passengers, cyclists and pedestrians.
The scheme, which will be funded by the National Transport Authority, includes plans for a complete upgrade of the public realm on MacCurtain St, with new and wider footpaths, bus priority measures, street resurfacing, new public lighting, additional street furniture and the planting of new trees.
Crucially, the street which has had two traffic lanes one-way eastbound since the 1960s will be converted to a two-way traffic flow system.
MacCurtain Street has undergone a mini-renaissance in recent years and city officials said they hope the scheme will make the area and several adjoining streets more accommodating for shoppers, pedestrians and cyclists, and help create a new destination in the city centre.
But the scheme also includes several significant upgrades and traffic management changes to nearby streets and the quays, with a number of new bus lanes proposed in several areas to reduce bus journey times and improve service reliability.
Significant public realm upgrades are planned for Leitrim St, Coburg St, Bridge St, the lower section of St Patrick’s Hill, St Patrick’s Quay, Brian Boru Street, Merchant’s Quay, Anderson’s Quay, as well as Cathedral Walk and part of Mulgrave Road.
The scheme includes plans for new bike lanes along St Patrick’s Quay and Camden Quay, on Merchant’s Quay, across Christy Ring Bridge, and on Leitrim St, to improve connectivity between the cycling infrastructure around Kent Station and Penrose Quay in the east, and at Pope’s Quay at the western side of the city centre.
The scheme will facilitate the rerouting of some bus routes, including some which travel down Summerhill, which will now be able to drive onto MacCurtain St westbound and on towards Coburg St.
And there are plans to reorganise the city’s coach parking arrangements, which are currently concentrated on St Patrick’s Quay.
Full details of the ambitious proposal have been published for public consultation today, with submissions accepted until September 11.
The documents will be available to view electronically through the council’s online consultation portal, consult.corkcity.ie/en, with enhanced interactive facilities.
It is hoped that a report on the public feedback will be prepared for city councillors in October, with a decision on the Part 8 planning expected soon afterwards, paving the way for work to start on the detailed design of the scheme, and for tenders to be awarded.
It is hoped that work could start on the scheme by Easter 2021, and that it will take about 18-months to complete.