A CORK cycling campaigner has called for Cork City to increase the ‘permeability’ of estates and neighbourhoods.
Dean Venables says he has noticed some Corkonians engaging in “social vandalism” in order to increase access to public amenities.
People have taken the top bricks off walls to create a makeshift step. This creates a more direct route to public amenities, like Ballincollig Regional Park. It also means people can avoid walking on a noisy main road.
“It is very interesting, it is vandalism, but for the good of the neighbourhood and the people,” Dr Venables told The Echo. “The new pathway extended Ballincollig Park to Manor Hill estates, but people are still trying to create a more direct route.
“The other day I saw a mother with her two children, aged around five or six, climbing over the wall on a makeshift step. They passed over a doll’s pram and a scooter.
“I saw three students hop over the same wall today to get to school quicker. They could have walked along the main road, but that is noisy and polluted.
“These aren’t anti-social yobs, they are just trying to access a wonderful amenity without walking half a kilometre around the neighbourhood.”
Dr Venables says this is why the idea of “permeability” is important when it comes to city planning.
“This is the ability for people to get around easily by walking or cycling.
“Most estates in Cork have a single entrance for vehicles. It is mainly done for security reasons but I would question this, if someone is going to burgle a house, a wall won’t deter them.
“People who live a bit further away will take their cars to work, school and the park because there are so many walls up, their pedestrian route is longer. Increasing permeability [by opening up doorways between estates] can improve people’s travel choices.
“There would be less traffic on the road and air pollution would decrease,” Dr Venables adds.
Increasing permeability would also not cost too much, according to the cycling campaigner.
“You could knock a hole in the wall for a few hundred euros.”