The Cork Cycling Campaign has expressed disappointment over the decision to route a greenway upgrade along a road rather than along the shore of Douglas estuary.
The group said the fact that the vast majority of people who made submissions during the public consultation on route options for phase two of the Passage Railway greenway upgrade favoured the coastal route from Harty's Quay to Hop Island offers a "significant mandate" to the local authority to proceed with this option.
Cork City Council has said, however, that the coastal route was not advanced for detailed design because the project team identified the possible impact it could have on the adjoining Special Protection Area (SPA) as well as security and privacy concerns expressed by residents of Island View and St Gerard’s Place, whose properties overlook the estuary.
The council now plans to route the greenway along the Rochestown Road, which is set to undergo significant upgrades, and which will be subject to more public consultation later.
The cycling campaign questioned the council’s reasons for not advancing the coastal option, and its decision to route a greenway along a road.
“We feel it is fair and just for people to question the two main reasons why coastal options have been excluded at the moment — namely possible impacts on the lower harbour SPA and security and privacy concerns,” it said in a statement.
“There are already several kilometres of greenway running along the SPA in the harbour and no environmental assessment for this shorter stretch of the proposed path have been made available."
“We would also like to point out that An Garda Síochána have clarified that they do not have objections to the coastal route.”
The campaign also expressed concerns that the original project aims — to improve the safety of people using the route and to increase the use of the route — cannot now be realised by routing it along a road.
“Since the public consultation for five route options began earlier this year it has been the view of the campaign that a route that does not cross driveways or run parallel to a busy road would offer people who walk, scoot, jog, and cycle the highest degrees of both safety and amenity,” it said.
“In addition we believe that the realisation of such a coastal route would help market Cork to both locals and visitors alike as a city or outdoor leisure and active travel are high priorities for the city.”