City Hall reveal the impact of the car ban on Patrick's Street footfall figures 

City Hall reveal the impact of the car ban on Patrick's Street footfall figures 
A view of Patrick's Street from the newly renovated bridge in Cork, Ireland - Picture David Creedon / Anzenberger

PEDESTRIAN footfall on St Patrick’s St has increased 2% since a daily private car ban was introduced in August 2018.

City Hall director Gerry O’Beirne said that pedestrian numbers are being monitored and in the region of 300,000 people on average have visited the street each month since August, representing a 2% rise on the same period last year.

Councillors have complained that private cars are regularly flouting the ban, which was introduced to prioritise public transport movement, and retailers are not benefiting from the changes.

With the festive shopping season now fully underway, images emerged on social media on Sunday of motorists ignoring the ban and of several private cars parked in loading bays.

Labour councillor John Maher asked the council to outline progress on the so-called Pana Ban, which is in place daily between 3pm and 6.30pm for private vehicles.

“I don’t know if it’s working,” said Mr Maher.

“I was in there this week during the ban and there are cars everywhere. We need to do something about it.

Patrick's Street
Patrick's Street

"It’s not a ban at the moment. I was in there on Sunday and people are not worried about it, they are laughing at it.

“It’s either a ban or it’s not, and it doesn’t appear to be at the moment because there is no enforcement. Pedestrian footfall hasn’t dropped and I suppose that’s a positive, but are we measuring the experience for pedestrians?”

City Hall director of roads and transport Gerry O’Beirne responded, saying: “Pedestrian counters were installed to record movement on the street since the start of August 2018 and since then pedestrian activity has been maintained within a consistent range.

“The year-on-year data shows that pedestrian movement has increased by circa 2%.”

However, Fianna Fáil councillor Seán Martin said he doesn’t believe that the ban has been effective for traders.

“It hasn’t done any good for the retailers. The city centre was dug up for years with the main drainage scheme and then it was the flooding. We are hitting the same people all the time,” he added.

However, Mr O’Beirne said the city centre’s road network has responded well to the extra pressures imposed by the ban.

“Movement along the city quays has been as anticipated over the past year and four months,” he said, adding: “The level of on-street and off-street parking activity in the city centre has not diminished over the period since the bus-priority measures were introduced.”

Councillors only voted to retain the private car ban in February amid claims that it was hitting traders.

Mr Maher also asked the council to outline the number of fines issued on the street for ignoring the ban, but no response was given to this request.

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