New plans for MacCurtain Street are expected to have a “transformational effect” on the area, with proposals in place for improved pedestrian, cycling and public transport facilities.
Cork City Council, in conjunction with the National Transport Authority, has unveiled the MacCurtain Street Public Transport Improvement Scheme, which is touted as the next phase of the transition to a more sustainable transport system in the city.
The other streets covered by the scheme include Leitrim St, Coburg St, Bridge St, St Patrick’s Quay, Brian Boru St, Merchants Quay, Anderson's Quay as well as Cathedral Walk and part of Mulgrave Rd.
A more “relaxed atmosphere” will be created through new and wider pavements. City Hall says the plans “have been warmly welcomed by representatives of local businesses”.
Safer walking and cycling routes to cater for school students in the area is a priority in the scheme, with hopes that congestion due to an over reliance on cars can be reduced.
Under the new plans two-way segregated cycle connectivity along St. Patrick’s Quay and Camden Quay, two way segregated cycle tracks on Merchants Quay and across Christy Ring Bridge, and new cycleways on Leitrim Street, are to be included which will connect with other cycling infrastructure in the city.
The existing public bike stations will be retained but will be realigned, while additional bike parking will be provided at key locations throughout the area.
A reorganisation of traffic flows on MacCurtain Street is expected to significantly reduce traffic volumes. It’s anticipated that wider footpaths as well as reduced speed and an upgraded public realm will create a more attractive environment for those living and working in, or visiting the area.
“In making these changes MacCurtain St will transition from traffic dominated street to a pleasant visitor destination”.
New bus lanes are to be provided along a number of streets including Leitrim St, Cathedral Walk, Coburg St Devonshire St Bridge Street and St Patrick's Bridge.
There will also be a reorganisation of coach parking while rerouting some bus services onto MacCurtain Street and Coburg Street will be possible, enabling improved services run to the north and east of the city Gerry O’Beirne, Director of Infrastructure Development of Cork City Council, said that the proposals were essential for a number of reasons.
“The National Planning Framework 2040 envisages that Cork will become the fastest growing city region in Ireland with a projected 50% to 60% increase in its population up to Year 2040. This growth is very positive but it means that new approaches must be adopted for the management of traffic in Cork.
“The diversion of through traffic from the city centre, the creation of priority bus corridors and the facilitation of walking and cycling options are imperatives if the city is to function well and prosper,” he said.
“The changes which are being undertaken in the city centre at present as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic give a sense of a future ‘look and feel’ to the city which appear to resonate well with the public. There is no doubt that the city has to be “re-imagined” and that the status quo can no longer apply.
“I hope people engage with the public consultation process on the MacCurtain Street Scheme which is reflective of a new, emerging vision for the city,” Mr. O’Beirne added.
The MacCurtain Street Scheme is the latest phase of works to be progressed as part of the City Centre Movement Strategy.
Full details of the MacCurtain Street Public Transport Improvement Scheme are available on www.corkcity.ie and now go out to formal public consultation under the Part 8 Planning process.