Cork Chamber has said the removal of private cars from Patrick’s Street may prove unworkable but the three month trial period should be completed with a comprehensive and review to gauge its impact.
The Patrick Street afternoon car ban is part of a range of measures included in the Cork City Movement Strategy document that includes reverting MacCurtain Street back to a two-way traffic system.
However, the changes to Patrick Street has caused a fall-off in trade according to a number of businesses. As a result, Cork City Council introduced parking incentives including free Park and Ride at Black Ash from noon each day and four hours parking for the price of two in the Paul Street and North Main street car parks between noon and 6pm.
Cork Chamber President Bill O’Connell said the Movement Strategy is an essential element of meeting the evolving needs of business, commuting workers and the citizens of Cork through the facilitation of a more effective and sustainable public and private transport system.
“Cork is positioned for significant growth over the next number of years with thousands of new jobs being created in the heart of the city which will bring a vibrancy and spending power which will ultimately benefit our much-valued traders hugely."
"In addition, we will also see a growing city centre population arising from the development of new accommodation in our city all of whom will avail of the services of a modern and dynamic city centre trading environment."
Cork Chamber members who number 1,200 businesses employing over 100,000 people have clearly stated through surveys, personal engagement and in some cases publicly that public transport efficiency and enhancement is a top priority for their businesses and in particular for their staff and is a key element of future investment location decision making.
"Change is almost always difficult but change also needs to be given a chance. In the context of the current debate regarding the prioritisation of public transport on St. Patrick’s Street while the improved bus movement efficiency reported by Bus Eireann is welcome it may well be the case that it proves not to be a workable element of the overall movement strategy but we can’t yet draw that conclusion.”
“All involved in the current debate are genuine in their concerns and those concerns deserve to be heard. However, with changes in St. Patrick’s street a major element of the overall strategy and in recognition of the work done by all involved in developing that strategy, including the business community, great care needs to be taken that the longer term future of all of our city businesses, transport infrastructure investment, investment plans for new office and accommodation developments are not damaged.”
“The agreed three month implementation period should be completed with a comprehensive and well-rounded review taking place prior to final decisions being taken while the recently announced government investment of €200m through BusConnects is released without delay to allow rapid progress be made across Cork’s public transport infrastructure.”