THE Cork Cycling Campaign has called for the Patrick’s Street traffic ban to be reintroduced and for Cork City Council to prioritise buses and bicycles over private cars.
The ban, which prevented cars from using the street between 3pm and 6.30pm daily, was shelved following an emergency meeting of the city council last Friday night, amid increasing pressure from businesses in the area, who said their business was impacted.
The “pause” will allow for further consultation with the business community and for a comprehensive promotional campaign.
The Cork Cycling Campaign said it will continue to support City Hall’s efforts to alleviate traffic congestion in Cork and called for the ban to be reinstated in August, after the consultation period.
The group said that traffic congestion in Cork is an urgent matter that affects thousands of commuters in Cork every day and that the issue is ultimately not a question of roads but of the number of vehicles on those roads.
Providing attractive and reliable alternatives to private vehicles must be a priority for the region, according to Stephan Koch, a transport professional involved in the group.
“Buses and bicycles are multiple times more efficient than private cars in terms of transport capacity and use of limited road space,”
“They bring far more people into the city centre and generate more footfall. Small changes and active marketing would greatly improve rates of cycling in Cork,” he added.
Bus Éireann said the decision to reverse the ban was disappointing.
“While it is disappointing that the bus priority measure on St Patrick’s Street, introduced as part of the Cork City Centre Movement strategy, is being postponed Bus Éireann will continue to work with all stakeholders to examine other opportunities that would see a positive impact on bus Journey times,” said a spokesperson.
Meanwhile, UCC economist Dr Frank Crowley said that the congestion problem is going to keep getting worse until something is done.
“Time will tell but I fear for this to have worked local government needed to stand up to the private interests in the city.
“Traders and car-dependent users at the present time are not willing to allow that to happen and the poor public transport problem will grow as the city grows,” he said.