CITY HALL has urged traders to be patient with the Patrick Street car ban after calls have already been made to scrap the scheme.
The City Council has come under fire for its partial ban on private cars on Patrick Street, between the hours of 3pm and 6.30pm each day.
The ban was introduced two weeks ago to improve public transport but has already been described as damaging to city traders.
Frank Lee from Tung Sing restaurant said his family have been in business on Patrick Street for the past 55 years, but if things continue like this, they won’t be for much longer.
Mr Lee said on Easter Sunday his revenue was down 40% and he said the Patrick Street private car ban is affecting his takeaway business as no one can reach him.
Cork Business Association chief executive Lawrence Owens said things are only going to get worse when the Easter holidays end and children return to school.
Mr Owens also made the point that just one accident had the potential to shut down the whole city thanks to the gridlock caused by the Patrick Street car ban.
The CBA chief said the City Council should be making it easier for customers to come into the city and highlighted the fact that the Gardaí, who are currently manning the roads surrounding Patrick Street between 3-6pm, will not always be there and questioned what would happen when their presence is removed.
Mr Owens said there was a lot of anger and frustration among traders and it was important that that message was sent to City Hall.
“We have been completing surveys on traders’ opinions of the traffic ban and so far, there has not been one positive response,” Mr Owens said.
City Hall’s Paul McGuirk, coordinator of the plan, said he thought last night’s meeting was very productive.
“The voice of the traders was very clear. It was productive discussions,” he said.
Regarding Patrick Street, Mr McGuirk said: “Obviously the new prioritised bus lane on Patrick Street is in its early days yet, it is only a week into it.
“It will be continually monitored and tweaked as we go along. It is currently in a trial period, but it is early days yet for it.
“Our road directorate is working closely with the CBA and Bus Eireann to evaluate it as it goes along.”
Mr McGuirk said it was part of the city centre movement strategy which was approved about a year ago.
“These are the first couple of phases of it, the next phases will be MacCurtain Street and North Mall and that area.
“A couple of people mentioned that it should be pulled and if something is completely not working it will have to be looked at, but it is very early days to be thinking about making those kinds of decisions.
“I think we are a week into a significant change and change is difficult, very difficult, but if there are improvements needed to be made, it is important that we listen and make those changes.”