Concern over return of car ban

Concern over return of car ban
A quiet scene on Patrick's Street during the last spell of traffic restrictions.

CITY HALL has been urged to take all steps necessary to ensure the re-introduction of the Patrick Street car ban does not become another stand-off with traders.

With the re-introduction of the controversial car ban set for August 9, city councillors are determined to ensure that the measures do not blow up into the brouhaha that greeted the initial introduction earlier this year.

Next month, the city will try once more to limit access on Patrick Street to buses, taxis, emergency vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists from 3pm to 6.30pm each day.

However, a number of city councillors have warned that the implementation of the plan will need to be carefully monitored.

“I have concerns about the monitoring of the implementation of the new traffic plan,” said Councillor John Buttimer.

“I think we saw how quickly communication and control of the communication strategy was lost and that created a momentum of its own.”

He was one of a number of councillors calling for the Council to seek a meeting yesterday and again later in the summer to stay on top of any difficulties that could arise.

Cllr Mick Nugent agreed, adding:

“The soundings are that the changes the Council are putting in seem to be going down well but ideally we should meet close to August 9.”

When first introduced in March, the measures prompted a furious reaction, primarily from traders in the city.

They said the ban destroyed their daytime trading at a time when businesses were just starting to recover from the long economic recession and the impacts of travel strikes, extreme weather and other issues.

After close to a month of controversy, which brought nationwide attention to the story, the ban was temporarily shelved on April 20.

But the traffic restrictions form a key part of the overall movement strategy for Cork city’s future and the City Hall executive and councillors are determined to make a success of the relaunch.

A number of additional measures have been introduced to appease the traders, including an extension to the Park and Ride service, the introduction of set-down spaces on a number of streets and half-price parking on offer at Paul Street and North Main Street car parks.

“I think the councillors need some reassurance that there is a strategy in place for how the implementation is going to be monitored,” Mr Buttimer added.

“We need to know there is a strategy in place to respond appropriately.”

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