MOTORISTS continue to flout the private car ban on Patrick Street more than a month after it was reintroduced.
Traffic measures, which were introduced for the second time at the beginning of August, mean private cars are not allowed on Patrick Street from 3pm to 6.30pm. However, a number of cars were photographed driving through or parked on the street between 3.45pm and 4.15pm, and again at 5.20pm last Saturday.
Ann Doherty, chief executive of Cork City Council, said the changes have been broadly positive but accepts that some drivers are not obeying the rules: “I think the efforts to bring in a change to the movement of traffic in the city has, in the main, been quite positive,” she said.
“There are still some people who are ignoring the bus lane. That happens all over the city but people do that at a risk. Enforcement is a matter for the Gardaí,” Ms Doherty said.
“While things might not be very visible, that doesn’t mean it is not being observed. It is the guards who will enforce it. There was a soft approach of turning people around at the start but if people want to consistently ignore the rules, they run the risk.”
Green Party representative Oliver Moran has called for a timed bus light on Grand Parade, to ensure that private car owners know the street is off limits during the ban.
“Unfortunately, the traffic light system isn’t perfect,” he said.
On Washington Street, a timed bus lane signal tells private traffic not to turn left on to Patrick Street during the ban but, coming up from Grand Parade, private cars still see a green arrow telling them they can proceed towards Patrick Street.
“This is because they can proceed as far as Daunt Square then turn left on to the slip road leading to Cornmarket Street,” explained Mr Moran.
“My understanding is that keeping that slip road to Cornmarket Street accessible during the hours was a compromise. Initially, there were plans to discourage its use as well.
“Keeping it open now has become a mistake because it has driven through traffic on to Cornmarket Street, which should be preserved as high amenity zone and for the farmers’ market.
Photographer Billy MacGill, who captured the images, said the city centre is suffering because of the loss of car park spaces. More than 120 spaces have been lost this year after the closure of White Street car park and the demolition of the former tax office on Sullivan’s Quay, he said.
He added that, until a comprehensive bike lane plan is put in place, we need to accept that people will drive into the city centre and that they should be accommodated too.