Northside park and ride back on the agenda

Northside park and ride back on the agenda
The Black Ash Park and Ride bus on Patrick Street, Cork. Hopes are high that a second park and ride could be introduced on the northside of the city as part of a new national transport strategy.Picture: David Keane.

THE long-awaited introduction of a park and ride on the northside of the city is expected to form part of the future transport strategy for Cork, according to senior officials at City Hall.

It is expected that the amenity is one of several new initiatives which will be included in a suite of measures to be unveiled by the National Transport Authority (NTA) in the coming month as part of a major revamp of transport infrastructural development in the wider city area.

The Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy is due to be presented to elected officials in the coming weeks before being put out to public consultation. The document aims to map out a revamp of the transport corridors in and around Cork over the coming two decades.

The current City Hall plan to revamp traffic flows in the city — the City Centre Movement Strategy — includes improved public transport and cycle lanes in the city centre but does not extend to the introduction of additional park and ride facilities. A number of park and ride facilities are expected to be included in the new document, according to officials at City Hall.

Among these is the long-awaited northside park and ride, potentially earmarked for Killeens. It has been a long-held ambition of elected officials on the northside of the city to develop such an amenity in the area to mirror the Black Ash facility at the Kinsale Road roundabout.

It is expected that several road improvements will need to be undertaken before the park and ride will be introduced to ensure the service runs smoothly.

With the expansion of the city boundary set to take effect from early next summer, and a population boom expected for the north-west of the city, the amenity will be greatly needed, according to councillors.

Former Lord Mayor, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, told officials that the matter has been discussed for more than a decade in the city. He said that with a growing population of the city, the amenity is needed.

“Are we specifically talking about a park and ride on the northside of the city in this strategy?” he asked. “There was previously one proposed for a site at Killeens. We need to have that facility going forward.”

In a report to councillors, Gerry O’Beirne, head of roads at City Hall, said: “The Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy is currently being prepared by the National Transport Authority and, once the draft document is completed, a public consultation process will be undertaken. This strategy will provide for a number of park and ride facilities to be provided once supporting public transport infrastructure is in place.

“We anticipate that a park and ride will be part of [the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy.] We would expect it.”

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