CORK'S third level education sector, representing 48,000 staff and students, has joined forces to call for better cycling infrastructure across the city.
University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology, Griffith College Cork, Cork College of Commerce, St John’s Central College, Tyndall National Institute and Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa are calling for the rollout of the Cork Cycle Network Plan.
Walking and cycling are the primary means of travel to college for over 50% of college students in Cork but college chiefs have raised safety fears with the existing cycle network.
The Cork Cycle Network Plan, published in 2017, identified safe and coherent cycling routes, with a high proportion of segregated cycle lanes but much of this has yet to be delivered.
President of UCC, Professor Pat O’Shea said: “Our students and our staff need safer and more coherent cycle routes through this beautiful city and region.
"A core mission of our university is sustainability and as a daily cyclist I can testify to the benefits you enjoy and the challenges a cyclist faces.”
CIT President Dr Barry O’Connor echoed this sentiment, adding: “CIT has long been committed to eco-friendly access to and from our campuses, both city-based and the Bishopstown campuses.
"A safer and wider network of cycle lanes is imperative at this point, together with an extension of the City Bikes range to include the CIT Bishopstown Campus, CUH etc. CIT staff and students strongly support the CyclingWorksCork proposals along with a significantly enhanced public transport provision."
A recent study of Cork City showed that significant population growth is expected, but the car remains the dominant mode of transport.
The institutions’ call for high-quality cycling infrastructure was motivated by several considerations.
These included the health and well-being benefits of cycling for their staff and students, and the importance of their safety in getting to college.
Low cost and sustainable transport options were important to the competitiveness of Cork City for attracting top staff and students. They also noted their responsibility as colleges and research institutions to educate and take the lead in environmental sustainability.
Alongside the cycle network plan, the institutions drew particular attention to the Lee to Sea Greenway, a key route that would serve many of the institutions. The Lee to Sea Greenway was initially proposed in campus discussions in 2018.