CITY manager Ann Doherty has asked traders to give the traffic changes on Patrick Street three months before writing off the plan.
The Chief Executive of Cork City Council made the plea as she unveiled a suite of parking incentives to entice shoppers back to the city.
The controversial restrictions to private cars on Patrick Street have been in place for almost three weeks, with some traders claiming to have suffered a massive drop off in trade since they were introduced.
Following a meeting with trader representative groups, including the Cork Business Association and Cork Chamber, Ms Doherty confirmed a range of incentives to bring confidence back to consumers.
The changes kicked in at midday today and include:
- Free parking at the Black Ash park & ride at the Kinsale Road roundabout six days a week - From 12pm-6pm, both North Main Street and Paul Street car park will give two hours free parking to people who pay for two hours. This means that it will cost just €3.50 to park in North Main Street for four hours.
- A marketing campaign to promote the city and its offering will also kick in next week.
Ms Doherty committed to working with traders to address concerns but asked that all groups give the changes time to bed in.
"We are just two weeks into a change, a big change. As we all know, change takes time to bed in," she said.
"I am mindful of the concerns of the traders so we have committed to a set of measures that would assist in bringing confidence back to consumers to come back into the city, "The city is not closed, it is very much open for business."
Ms Doherty said that city officials will continue to monitor the changes and said that changes will be made if necessary.
"We need to look at data, we need to monitor what is happening and then make adjustements," she said.
"We would need to give it at least three months to what are the issues. We have announced these changes so we will continue to monitor how it goes and assess the data."
The changes were introduced as part of the Cork City Centre Movement Strategy, a multi-year strategy which has been in development for a number of years and aims to revamp the traffic flows in the city centre.
"This isn't something was designed or created in the last week or month. It has been development in for many years and this is one component of the phases," Ms Doherty said.
"We need to look at what has happened and how that bedded in and the tweaks that we did. What I am asking the traders and everyone else is to work with us to assess the impact but to assess this impact over a longer period than just two weeks.
"We are doing this to make the city better. I am very conscious that over the next few years, we will see a huge growth in population in Cork. That isn't aspirational, it is reality."
The alternative to forward-planning is more issues, Ms Doherty added.
"Navigation House, Horgans Quay, the new BAM hotel development and others; these are happening and real and will bring more people into the city so we need to plan for that.
"If we don't plan for it, we will end up like Dublin, which is retrofitting solutions and I would be concerned if that is what we got to."