CORK cyclists have welcomed the new traffic restrictions on Patrick Street and have urged concerned traders to give it a chance.
Cork Cycling Campaign say they sympathise with the corners of traders and motorists regarding the ban but pointed to the success of the largely pedestrianised Oliver Plunkett Street as a reason for optimism.
The changes kicked in just over two weeks ago and restrict access to the city's main shopping street between 3pm and 6.30pm daily.
It has been met with vocal concerns from city businesses, who claim that it will deter people from coming into the city centre, in particular in the context of the removal of parking spaces from a number of other areas in the city centre.
City Hall has moved to calm fears, pointing to the large volume of available parking in areas such as North Main Street car park.
A statement issued by Cork Cycling Campaign said that there is very limited parking on Patrick Street and, therefore, it should make little difference to those coming into the city.
Dean Venables from the Cork Cycling Campaign said, "To see the long-term effects of the traffic changes on Patrick Street, traders should consider the impact of the car ban on Oliver Plunkett Street in 2005. This was hugely successful.
"Oliver Plunkett Street is now an incredibly vibrant street filled with large numbers of shoppers enjoying the pedestrianised environment."
Oliver Plunkett Street was awarded the Great Street Award by the UK's Academy of Urbanism, with judges pointing to pedestrianisation as part of the reason for the award.
Cork Cycling Campaign also noted that reducing the number of vehicles on the road will improve travel times for other road users. As more people travel by bus or bicycle, a change that the traffic restrictions encourages, drivers will also be able to move through the city more easily, they added.
While short-term difficulties are unavoidable in the early stages of the plan, the Campaign said that the long-term benefits will outweigh the issues and urged commuters and traders to take a long-term view on the changes.