SOME €300,000 of National Transport Authority (NTA) funding is set to be pumped into a series of measures to ease concerns surrounding the re-introduction of a ‘bus-only’ corridor on Patrick Street.
The controversial traffic plan, introduced initially in March, restricted access to Patrick Street from 3pm to 6.30pm daily to buses and cyclists only, moving private cars onto the quays. The changes were paused until August 9 after just three weeks due to business concerns.
The city’s CORE representative group, which includes businesses, councillors and city officials, has met more than 10 times in recent weeks in a bid to reach a suitable compromise to allow the reintroduction of the restrictions, which are viewed as a crucial component of the city’s long-term traffic plan.
This includes the introduction of new park-and-ride stops and set-down areas in the city centre.
It is understood that these will be supplemented with an injection of funding from the NTA and Cork City Council to run a marketing campaign to encourage shoppers and tourists to spend time in the city centre.
The ‘Discover the Island’ campaign will showcase the best of what the city centre has to offer in a bid to boost footfall in the heart of the city.
The in-depth marketing campaign will include TV, radio and print ads, as well as leaflets and fliers.
In addition, the parking concessions introduced earlier this year, which were due to expire in August, are expected to remain in place indefinitely.
The concessions, which include free use of the Black Ash park-and-ride after 12pm daily and competitive rates at North Main Street and Paul Street multi-storey car parks, have proven a hit with shoppers, with use at all facilities increasing since their introduction.
These will now remain in place, despite the hit it will cause to City Hall’s income over the rest of the year.
New electronic signage is also due to be added to a number of locations to spread the message about the parking incentives and the traffic restrictions, a move which will minimise motorist confusion when the changes are reintroduced.
It is understood that there is broad support from councillors for the new proposals, which will be discussed in a behind-closed-doors meeting at City Hall today.