CORK City Councillors have approved Part 8 planning for the MacCurtain Street Public Transport Improvement Scheme.
The plans, which also incorporate some of the surrounding area, aim to transform the busy street for the first time in over 50 years, making it more suitable for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport.
The National Transport Authority funded scheme will see the transformation of the street from a one-way to a two-way traffic system, as well as wider footpaths, bus priority measures, street resurfacing, additional street furniture, the planting of new trees and the renewal of street lighting and traffic signals.
The scheme also encompasses streets, quays and bridges close to MacCurtain Street which will see new segregated bike lanes and bus lanes established.
Public realm upgrades are planned for Leitrim St, Coburg St, Bridge St, the lower section of St Patrick’s Hill, St Patrick’s Quay, Brian Boru Street, Merchant’s Quay, Anderson’s Quay, as well as Cathedral Walk and part of Mulgrave Road.
The scheme went to public consultation in July and 69 submissions were received, a report issued to city councillors stated.
These submissions were “duly considered” and as a result, some amendments have been made.
These include the provision of an additional bus shelter at Anderson’s Quay for patrons of the new coach set down area, a new disabled parking bay which will be added to Pine Street and the number of bike parking spaces will be increased to circa 120 across the scheme area - up almost 50% from the original proposal of 70 spaces.
The public realm design also includes opportunities to provide the possibility of providing a commemoration to Tomás MacCurtain which will be assessed and further developed before construction begins.
Detailed design will now get underway and it is proposed that works will be carried out in a phased basis with the works along the quays carried out first.
The public realm and new traffic arrangements in the MacCurtain Street area will only be commenced when all other works on the quays have been completed.
Speaking at last night’s council meeting Fine Gael councillor Deirdre Forde said the regeneration of MacCurtain Street and its environs will be “of huge benefit and enhance the city so much”.
“I want to congratulate the democratic way that the consultation was carried out,” she said.
Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy paid tribute to the traders on MacCurtain Street as well as Edith Roberts, senior engineer in infrastructure development at Cork City Council and Gerry O'Beirne, Director of Infrastructure Development at Cork City Council.
“Great credit is due to the traders on MacCurtain Street who during the past number of years have lobbied hard to create a living and dynamic quarter of town, and not just lobby but also implement actions.
“It is my view that this Part 8 is also the culmination of their efforts in their lobbying for a better future for the streetscape.
“It is also great that Edith, Gerry and the team met various stakeholders before the Part 8 began – sought their support, and ironed out the bigger issues and challenges before public consultation began – this is a methodology that worked and one that should be pursued across other part 8 consultations as well,” he said.
“I did put in a submission calling for place-making elements such iron benches with embedded sculptural pieces reflecting Tomás MacCurtain’s life and times, and that is a proposal I will be following up with the Roads directorate,” Councillor McCarthy continued.