THE proposed Harley Street bridge will add over €800,000 to Cork’s economy every year by cutting journey times for pedestrians and cyclists by an average of 1.8 minutes per day.
According to calculations carried out by city officials, the reduction in journey times for recreation and work will equate to €11.20 per hour. City Hall engineer John Stapleton said that, based on the traffic on other bridges, it is estimated that Harley Street will see up to 3.9 million users a year.
Speaking at a seminar organised by Cork’s Transport and Mobility Forum, Mr Stapleton said that Patrick’s Bridge is currently taking an average of 21,400 pedestrians a day and 500 cyclists. Further downstream, Brian Boru bridge is taking 12,200 pedestrians and 800 cyclists on a daily basis.
“We did a count in 2015 over a number of days and the count demonstrates that [Harley Street will be well used],” said Mr Stapleton.
“On Brian Boru bridge, our survey demonstrated the vast majority of cyclists were cycling on the footpath which shows there was no infrastructure [for them]. They were pretty much afraid to use the existing lanes because they were so densely populated by vehicles.
“We determine that a quarter of people from Brian Boru Bridge and Patrick’s Bridge will choose to use Harley Street, which equates to 11,200 people per day.
“It’s an important part of the cycle network for the city centre. There are very few crossing facilities that would serve cyclists without negative consequences to traffic flow.
“Harley Street, one of the city’s favourite rat runs will be changed to a shared street with pedestrian traffic only, so cyclists will be able to cross over from the city centre on to the street without any conflicts with vehicles and up to MacCurtain Street and the broader northside,” he added.
One of the reasons the Harley Street Bridge location has been identified is the distance between most bridges in the city is 130-150m approximately, but the gap between St Patrick’s and Brian Boru bridge is almost 350m. The construction of the final design will begin in July and assembly will begin in the Lower Harbour in January of 2019. The bridge will be lifted in February and transported up the Lee on low tides to be able to fit it under existing bridges. The bridge will be put in place in April with an official opening scheduled for May.