A major pedestrianisation plan has been unveiled in Cork City to extend or make permanent some of the measures introduced during the pandemic.
Cork City Council has advertised its intention to close 17 streets to traffic, some permanently and others for up to 17 hours a day, before the end of the year which, if approved, will see:
- The Marina, which had its temporary pedestrianisation extended in August until December 31, close to traffic 24 hours a day, seven days a week;
- an extension of the Oliver Plunkett St pedestrianisation, first introduced from 11am-5pm in 2005, to 11am to 2am, and a closure of its side streets to traffic for the same times;
- and Princes St south, where an outdoor dining initiative has made headlines around the world, close to traffic 9.30am to 2am, seven days a week;
Food businesses here, who want to install a covering on the street, are being encouraged to apply to the council for winter-proofing grants of up to €2,000 before September 28 to protect the dining areas from the elements.
The new pedestrianisation measures are being advanced under Section 38 of the Road Traffic Act 1994, which provides for eight weeks of public consultation after which a report will be prepared for city councillors before the end of the year.
Green Party Cllr Dan Boyle welcomed the proposals, which include:
- no vehicular traffic 24hrs a day, seven days a week on the Marina, St Peter and Paul’s Place and part of Paul St, as well as Emmett Place, Little Ann St and Little Cross St;
- no vehicular traffic from 11am to 2am on Tuckey St, Oliver Plunkett St, Grafton St, Marlboro St south, Cook St south, Robert St, Morgan St, Caroline St, Smith St from its junction with Phoenix St to its junction with Oliver Plunkett St;
- and no traffic between 9.3am and 2am seven days a week on Princes St south, Pembroke St, Phoenix Street from its junction with Pembroke Street to its junction with Crane Lane and Beasley St.
Mr Boyle said they show how the city council has “gone on a journey” since one of its initial pandemic responses was to reopen Oliver Plunkett St ato traffic in what the council said was an effort to support traders in the English Market.
“But the response from traders to the recent pedestrianisation measures shows that there has been a huge sea-change in thinking,” he said.
“For city centres to be viable, they need to be comfortable places to walk in. When that happens they are better places to live in and do business in.”
The council’s head of operations, David Joyce, said when the measures were implemented, officials had promised to evaluate them.
“That has been done and this is the next step on the journey,” he said.