SCHOOLS on the north side of the city have been urged to encourage students to walk in the morning and evening to help tackle chronic congestion.
Fianna Fáil’s Tim Brosnan said that the move would have the dual benefit of improving student wellbeing while also alleviating school traffic, which he described as ‘absolutely chaotic’ in some parts of the city.
Mr Brosnan said there are a number of areas in the city where morning and afternoon school traffic can cause a total shutdown for an hour at a time. He pointed to the area around Patrick’s Hill, Wellington Road and Sidney Place as one of the worst affected.
Christian Brothers College, Scoil Mhuire, St Patrick’s, Bruce College and St Angela’s are just some of the large schools in the area.
“Let me be clear: I have no issue with the schools, this is about the parents,” Mr Brosnan said.
“They are double parking, blocking yellow boxes, abandoning cars on footpaths and causing absolute chaos every day, all with the aim of dropping children off at the door of the school. These are secondary school students, not young kids, and they are more than capable of walking.”
The Fianna Fáil councillor pointed to a UK initiative called the Daily Mile, which encourages students to get out and walk, jog or run for a mile each day.
“If they walked half a mile in the morning and half a mile in the evening, it would improve health and take traffic off the roads,” Mr Brosnan said.
“There could be designated drop off points, like at City Hall, which would mean that parents would avoid traffic jams, too. Everyone would be better off for it.”
With the addition of Harley Street bridge across Merchant’s Quay next year, the journey would be even quicker, too, he added.
Mr Brosnan said that, currently, many of the highly residential areas around Wellington Road face huge volumes of traffic daily and that it is unsustainable.
“Alternatively, maybe the schools in the area could club together to put a bus service in place,” he said.
“There are so many people crossing the city to come these schools that there would have to be a demand for it. The current situation, which isn’t just a Cork issue but a national phenomenon, is unsustainable and totally unnecessary.”