Cork City Council's development plan is entirely built around people, with a series of new walkways, greenways and other amenities on the horizon that promise to enhance life in the southern capital.
“People are the key to successful cities,” the City Council said.
“Whilst providing excellent transport infrastructure and services is vital to the future of Cork, this should be secondary to ensuring that people are the priority.” With that in mind, Cork City Council began work in April to facilitate the permanent pedestrianisation of 17 city centre streets.
The streets were temporarily pedestrianised last summer as part of the “Reimagining Cork City” programme, in order to facilitate social distancing and outdoor dining.
Following an overwhelmingly positive reaction to this initiative and a series of public consultations, it was agreed to permanently pedestrianise 17 of these streets, including Caroline Street, Pembroke Street, Oliver Plunkett Street, Cook Street and Maylor Street.
Meanwhile, a number of developments in terms of parks and greenways are underway with more in the pipeline or awaiting the green light.
In Blackrock/Mahon, the Marina Park phase one should be completed later this year, with plans to create an amenity five times larger than that of Fitzgerald Park.
Works to resurface, widen and install public lighting on the Blackrock Greenway began last month.
Greenway works in Cork county are also in full swing with the 22km Midleton to Youghal Greenway set to open by 2023 at cost of about €15m, with the amenity expected to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
Looking to the future, the Transport and Environment Minister Eamon Ryan recently highlighted Cork as having huge potential to build a range of new greenways.
Speaking as his department unveiled its budget for 2021, Minister Ryan said there were a plethora of greenway projects across Munster that would benefit the region in the coming years.
Sticking with Cork county, the local authority stated its transport policy will seek to achieve compact growth and the transition to a low carbon society, provide sustainable travel choices and enhanced connectivity.
The County Council also highlighted plans for liveable towns, stating that a key concept of this is that a large portion of the population may choose to walk to access most of their everyday needs within an attractive 10 minute walk or cycle of their home.
“This approach requires diverse and higher density residential development and requires safe, inclusive and attractive pedestrian connections,” the Council stated.
There is a focus in the County’s plan on ensuring towns and villages are places “where people choose to live, work and visit by making our towns and villages more attractive, vibrant and liveable places”.
With regards to enhanced connectivity, Cork County Council highlighted the importance of diversity and innovativeness in rural areas, and supporting that by providing high-quality broadband and mobile communication services to all rural locations.
The Council also earmarked the supply of water and wastewater facilities for the growth of settlements, sustainable energy supply, enhanced transport connectivity including rural public transport services and greenway walking and pedestrian corridors between settlements in the county.
Tourism and leisure were also earmarked by both local authorities in their respective plans as Cork looks to begin its recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In its development plan, Cork County Council highlighted the need of furthering tourism attractions in West Cork, as well as the need for a tourism strategy in the North of the County.
The Council said its tourism department has already made progress on a number of initiatives including the redevelopment of beaches, the development of Spike Island and Camden as major tourist attractions, the success of the ‘Pure Cork’ initiative and through supporting festivals and events across the county.
Meanwhile, in the city, plans are already underway to pedestrianise a number of key streets in a bid to increase footfall and revitalise the city centre.
The City Council highlighted the importance of promoting and supporting tourism while developing strategic heritage and cultural assets and ensuring that Cork International Airport can become a gateway for business and tourism through transatlantic flights routes, proximity to London and continental Europe.
Tourism is sure to play an important role in Cork and Ireland’s recovery from the economic impacts of Covid-19.
With the Wild Atlantic Way at our doorstep, greenways in development or already open, and a wave of attractions across the city and county, there is plenty to see and do for those living here and those just passing through.