The northside of Cork city needs to be prioritised in the NTAs CMATS plan, according to a local councillor.
Three new suburban rail stations are proposed in that area, and Councillor Tony Fitzgerald priority must be given to Blackpool/Kilbarry, Monard and Blarney stations to ensure connectivity from the northside to the city centre is improved.
“The absence of a rail corridor linking the northside to the city centre is a huge loss in terms of developing retail trade, given the increase in housing developments and regeneration projects,” he said.
Topography on the northside is difficult, he said, adding that park & ride facilities are essential, and for those who can’t or don’t want to cycle, public transport options are key.
“We have a very good connecting corridor west to east in the city, from Ballincollig to East Cork, and we also have a very good connection from the city centre to the southside of the city. What is missing is the piece of connectivity from west to north, east to north and city centre to north,” Councillor Fitzgerald said.
He also suggested that a route from the toll outside Glanmire to Poulavone in Ballincollig is a route that should be examined for the Northern Ring Road.
He sees the suburban rail and adequate public transport connections as key to the northside's connectivity with the rest of the city and the surrounding areas.
“Particularly with staycations at the moment, we should be able to transport people very quickly out to Blarney from Kent station,” he said.
“This is not being parochial, it’s being very practical and proactive about the strategy in terms of what CMATS can deliver for the city as a whole.
“We have a substantial amount of people from the northside commuting to Little Island, Ballincollig, to the southside, and we need to make better connections for those who are employed across the city,” he added.
Overall he praised the plan and said it was necessary to draw down funding.
“It needs a united front from all our public reps across the political divide to work together to deliver as much as we can from the strategy,” Councillor Fitzgerald said.