PUBLIC consultation on the proposals for MacCurtain St has ended as the plans for the historic street move on to the next stage.
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.
Edith Roberts, senior engineer in infrastructure development at Cork City Council, told The Echo: “The objective of the strategy was to balance the needs of the different road users and to give more priority to walking, cycling, public transport, while still catering for cars and taxis and it was very much about the rerouting of the traffic that goes through the city centre.”
The plans under the MacCurtain St Public Transport Improvement Scheme will see the transformation of the street from a one-way to a two-way system, as well as reducing the speed limit and the rerouting of some of the traffic that often takes up the street.
The current temporary measures to allow for cafés to move onto the street and the widening of footpaths are an extension of the scheme, which will make more space for pedestrians.
“The key objectives of the scheme are to promote MacCurtain St as a destination, it’s a very historic street, but at the moment it’s very traffic dominated; and a lot of one-way traffic,” Ms Roberts said.
One of the submissions made to the council on the proposed plans was by the Cork Cycling Campaign, which said it was “disappointed by the quality of cycle infrastructure” in the current proposed plans.
Campaign chair Conn Donovan, said: “The Cork Cycling Campaign has deep concerns regarding the quality of the cycle lanes proposed.
“While most lanes are segregated from pedestrians and motorists along the quays, the junction treatment proposed is not appropriate for a modern city.
“In several locations, the cycle lane comes to an end and people will have to share space with pedestrians.
“In other instances, people cycling will have to either mix with vehicle traffic or cross at two sets of pedestrian crossings just to take a right turn,” he added.
However, Cork City Council claims that the plans will make way for future developments in terms of cycle lanes and infrastructure, though all submissions will be taken into account prior to beginning work on the street.
“It’s about balancing the needs of everybody and trying to fit as much as we can to accommodate as much of the requests as we can within the space that we have,” Ms Roberts said.
“In terms of cycling, while this scheme has defined boundaries, you can only do a scheme of a certain size in the city centre at a time.
“It’s always about connecting onto what was done before and what’s coming next, and there is a number of other things — especially in relation to cycling — that were proposed and that we are designing and actively building as well.
“It’s a piece of a jigsaw that’s evolving over time.”