With an ambitious new €3.5bn transport plan unveiled for the expanded metropolitan area of Cork, I am surprised to see the obvious overlooked.
New bus and cycle lanes and so on are very welcome and necessary, but they all rely on squeezing existing road space.
Cork, being essentially a late medieval city in street layout and built on a marsh, will ever only manage to sustain so many vehicles sharing the road at a time and rush hour jams look set to continue into the future.
Why then, has no one considered utilising perhaps Cork’s greatest transport asset: the River Lee?
A great deal of commuter traffic originates from areas in east Cork, such as Carrigaline, Crosshaven, Midleton, Cobh, Passage West, Ringaskiddy, and Aghada.
The River Lee and harbour is easily navigable up as far as Cork docks.
Park-and-ride points along the route could be joined to passenger ferry terminals, allowing people to park their cars and catch a passenger boat in comfort right to the heart of city centre.
If all-weather low berth boats like Amsterdam’s canal cruisers were to be used, the area within reach might even extend as far as the Mardyke UCC and County Hall, allowing for tides.
I for one would prefer any day to be gazing out on the Marina gliding by on my way to work rather than stuck in a bus in traffic, or cycling in the rain, and I doubt it would be any slower.
If the population is set to increase to 350,000 by 2040, we will need all the transport options we can get.