CORK City Council has said greenways and cycle lanes will be emphasised in new city centre transport plans amid growing calls for a ‘Mini Holland’ cycling programme.
The Mini-Holland programme was part of the Mayor of London’s Healthy Streets policy which allocated £100m to three outer London boroughs to improve the public realm and the experience of those walking, cycling and using public transport.
The infrastructure projects to deliver these schemes included measures such as removing through traffic from some streets, introducing ‘quietways’ and greenways, high-quality cycle routes, and a wide range of traffic calming measures.
Researchers at the University of Westminster found that people were walking an extra 32 minutes a week and cycling nine more minutes a week since the scheme was introduced. Other research found that improving London high streets for walking and cycling led to a 216% increase in people stopping, sitting, and socialising.
A spokesperson for the Cork Cycling Campaign, Conn Donovan, said they are urging elected representatives and policymakers in Cork to reflect on the success of the London schemes and begin to work together on how these schemes might be introduced.
“There are many areas in Cork that would benefit from improved pedestrian and cycling access along with improvements to the streetscape and public realm,” said Conn Donovan.
“Cork has several urban villages that could become strong focal points for communities if we redesigned streets for people and not traffic,” he added.
At the most recent Council meeting, Lord Mayor Mick Finn had asked about plans to ‘introduce safer cycling measures in the city’.
“We anticipate that the upcoming Cork metropolitan area Transport Plan will place a greater emphasis on the delivery of cycle infrastructure including greenways,” Director of Services Gerry O’Beirne said. “The indications are that cycle infrastructure will grow in the coming years.”
Mr Donovan is calling for the cycling to be prioritised.
“London is pushing towards 80% of all trips by 2040 to be undertaken on foot, bicycle or by public transport,” he said. “Where will Cork be by 2040?
“In 2016, only 30% of people living in the Cork metropolitan area travelled to work or school/college by foot, bicycle, or public transport.
“The Government is seeking to increase the population of the Cork metro region by 125,000 people by 2040.
“A city of 350,000 people needs a modern and progressive approach to transport, mobility and city living.”