Planning for light rail to begin next month; numerous new suburban rail stations among plans included in transport strategy for Cork 

Planning for light rail to begin next month; numerous new suburban rail stations among plans included in transport strategy for Cork 
A digital animation of the light rail system for Cork by civil engineering firm Systra.

New rail stations in Tivoli Docks, Dunkettle, Blackpool, Blarney and more, a light rail system running from Ballincollig to Mahon, an improved bus network and segregated cycle routes are among the plans unveiled in the Transport Strategy for the Cork Metropolitan Area, revealed today.

Planning for the light rail system is due to get underway next month, with a specialist engineering team due to undertake a route options analysis and develop initial designs.

There are no timeframes offered for the other plans but the CEO of the National Transport Authority said the Authority ‘looks forward to working with both councils in making it happen without delay’.

“The Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy is all about providing long-term investment in sustainable mobility, by implementing transport projects for Cork including BusConnects, light rail, heavy rail and cycling,” Anne Graham said. 

“I believe that process of deliberation consultation has resulted in a strategy will deliver major changes to the city and county of Cork.”

In May 2019, the NTA, in association with Cork County Council, Cork City Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland published their draft document for CMATS.

The draft was open to public consultation for a period of six weeks and all submissions were reviewed by the NTA. Relevant feedback has been incorporated into the final strategy, published today.

PLANS UNVEILED TODAY

The enhanced BusConnects network 

This will comprise of a significantly increased bus network, bus priority and around 220 new double decker vehicles. In total, the network will comprise of 200km of cross-city routes, 50km of orbital routes and 150Km of radial routes and will provide interchange with the Cork Suburban Rail Network, Light Rail network and proposed Park and Ride services.

In the coming weeks, the NTA and Cork City Council will establish a BusConnects Design Office to develop design proposals for BusConnects Cork. €200 million has been allocated under the National Development Plan for BusConnects Cork.

Computer-generated image of one of the eight new train stations at Blackpool taken from the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy document. Alan Healy story
Computer-generated image of one of the eight new train stations at Blackpool taken from the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy document. Alan Healy story

Suburban Rail 

This Strategy proposes to maximise opportunities offered by the existing suburban rail network to support the travel needs across the area. New stations are planned at Tivoli Docks; Dunkettle; Water Rock; Ballynoe; Carrigtwohill West; Blackpool / Kilbarry; Monard; and Blarney / Stoneview.

Light rail 

Following detailed analysis of projected travel demand, this Strategy has determined that the East-West Transit Corridor is best served through the provision of a new Light Rail Transit (LRT) tram system. The topography and distribution of existing trip generators and attractors, combined with the proposed development opportunity areas within Cork City and its suburbs, indicate the desirability for a linear route from Ballincollig in the west to Mahon in the east, via Cork City Centre.

During April, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, in collaboration with the NTA and Cork City Council, will commence the process of appointing a specialist engineering team to undertake a route options analysis and develop initial designs for the East-west Luas line between Ballinccollig and Mahon.

Cycling 

Cycling is a low cost, sustainable and growing mode of transport in the Cork Metropolitan Area. Project Ireland 2040 commits to the delivery of walking and cycling networks for all of Ireland’s cities. Under this Strategy, some key primary cycle routes to be improved within the Cork Metropolitan Area include: segregated routes along waterfront areas; Sallybrook/Glanmire - City Centre via Lower Glanmire Road; Model Farm Road to Glasheen Road.

Walking 

A central objective of the Strategy is to get more people walking more of the time, either as part of a linked trip with other modes or as a trip in its own right. Key outcomes for walking in the Strategy include an increase in walking levels for work, education and leisure. There will be a far higher standard of urban design in new developments, and in highway design, that consistently prioritises pedestrian movement and safety over that of the private car.


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