City Hall officials brief traders ahead of reintroduction of Pana traffic restrictions

City Hall officials brief traders ahead of reintroduction of Pana traffic restrictions
Patrick Street, pictured during the restrictions earlier this year. Picture: Denis Minihane.

IT HAS been referred to as Patrick Street ‘Mark Two’ and this time Cork City Council are determined to make it work.

Map of Cork's proposed extended park and ride service ahead of the August Patrick's Street car ban. The extension is one of a series of proposals to encourage more shoppers into town when the restrictions are reintroduced.
Map of Cork's proposed extended park and ride service ahead of the August Patrick's Street car ban. The extension is one of a series of proposals to encourage more shoppers into town when the restrictions are reintroduced.

Officials in City Hall yesterday rolled out the red carpet for traders in the city centre unveiling a suite of measures designed to encourage more shoppers and visitors into Cork ahead of the reintroduction of the ban on cars from Patrick Street on August 9.

From that day on, Cork’s main thoroughfare will only be allowed to be accessed by buses, taxis, cyclists and pedestrians between 3pm and 6.30pm each day.

The Council had already rolled out the measure in March with little fanfare however they were forced to suspend the changes within weeks due to a massive outcry from businesses over the impact the changes were having on trade.

Quiet scenes on Patrick Street during the initial 'Pana traffic ban' earlier this year.
Quiet scenes on Patrick Street during the initial 'Pana traffic ban' earlier this year.

Shop owners said the measure had the effect of closing off the street to the public and the perception amongst shoppers was that the city centre was closed for businesses. City Hall defended the move pointing out that bus travel times through the city centre had increased significantly and they announced increased parking incentives to encourage more visitors to the city centre.

However, in the face of opposition from businesses they agreed to suspend the changes and began a series of intensive meetings to ensure its reintroduction in August will be more successful.

Officials yesterday briefed traders and the media on a wide range of incentives that will come into effect when the street is given over to buses, cyclists and pedestrians on August 9.

As reported in the Evening Echo the measures include an extension of the Park and Ride bus route, new set-down areas allowing drivers to park for up to 15 minutes, a major marketing campaign promoting the city centre as a shopping destination and cheaper bus fares.

City Hall say making Patrick Street a bus priority zone in the afternoons was essential to “future proof” the city.

The head of the Roads Section in Cork City Council, Gerry O’Beirne, said 110,000 vehicles use the city centre each day and two-thirds of them travel through without stopping, clogging up the city.

He also said Cork would see the addition of 5,000 new workers through a range of development projects over the coming years and the city’s road network was already at full capacity.

“We believe with these broad measures the changes will be successful,” he said.

Lawrence Owens, CBA: Measures are 'softer'.Pic: Brian Lougheed
Lawrence Owens, CBA: Measures are 'softer'.Pic: Brian Lougheed

Lawrence Owens of the Cork Business Association said traders were briefed on the plans yesterday and they were glad that a range of measures to support the changes have been unveiled but said they would have to wait and see if the reintroduction of the changes will be a success.

“Some of the items unveiled were issues traders have asked for before such as extending the park and ride. Cork is now the only city in Ireland that will have an orbital park and ride system through the city centre,” he said.

“Set down areas that allow people to run in a grab something quickly is another positive.

“Overall these measures are much softer than the system that was in place in March when we had large signs and gardaí on duty warning people they could not drive down Patrick Street.”

Lord Mayor, Cllr Mick Finn: Encouraged everyone to get behind the new measures.Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Lord Mayor, Cllr Mick Finn: Encouraged everyone to get behind the new measures.Picture: Jim Coughlan.

The Lord Mayor, Cllr Mick Finn, said the reintroduction of priority for buses, taxis and emergency vehicles on Patrick St is designed to future-proof the city.

“Measures that we sought such as drop-off zones, expanded park and ride options and cheaper parking will accompany this iteration of the project,” he said.

“City retail and service operators need to get behind it as it will yield results. Encountered issues must be monitored as indeed must the impact on residents in the city, particularly the Middle Parish where some traffic is diverted through.”


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