Cork City Council has outlined its plan to revamp some of its city centre streets between South Mall and St Patrick's Street, sparked by the push towards pedestrianised areas due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a new tender issued regarding the changes proposed for Cook St, Marlboro St, Princes St and the renewal of Grafton St, the local authority said the plan would see improved pedestrian and cycle access to the area, stimulation of new business and employment opportunities and conditions to support increased retail, catering and tourism in the area.
Parts of the city centre have already embraced outdoor dining and increased access on foot, and according to the tender issued by the council: "This project aims to provide improvements to multi-user infrastructure, with primary focus on pedestrian and cyclist use, along with public realm enhancements to the streets within the project area, including Cook Street, Marlboro Street, Princes’ Street and Grafton Street."
It refers to the Core Strategy for Cork City, including future increases in population and households, revitalising the economy and protecting and expanding the city's green infrastructure.
It said the renewal of Cook, Marlboro, Princes’ and Grafton Sts are an important part of the enhancement of the city centre outlined in the National Planning Framework and Project Ireland 2040 plans, as well as local level initiatives.
One of those is Reimagine Cork, which the tender said "represents an immediate response to social distancing requirements resulting from Covid-19 but is also an acceleration of the City Council’s vision for a city of sustainable urban growth".
The project aims to provide improvements to pedestrian infrastructure on Cook, Marlboro, Princes and Grafton Streets, as well as improved lighting and age-friendly passive seating.
It also aims to deliver "a high-quality sense of place" linking pedestrian, residential and economic networks, as well as protecting the existing built and natural heritage of the area.
It also refers to the need for quality access to public transport, stating: "It is important that the multi-disciplinary design team consider the pedestrian, cyclist, public transport, other transportation needs and public realm for the entire area as a whole. The existing infrastructure should be enhanced while integrating a consistent and coherent language across the full site."
The council said it wants to engage a suitably qualified and experienced Landscape Architect/ Urban Designer led Multi-Disciplinary Design Team for the design of Cook, Marlboro, Princes’ and Grafton Streets Renewal, with as many as 12 meetings proposed with stakeholders that would include public transport and utility bodies as well as local business and community groups.
It said preliminary designs and presentations to members of the council should take place within eight months of securing the tender and that a planning report should be delivered within 50 weeks.
The closing date for tenders is August 26.