GARDAÍ have said they expect a large number of tourists to be baffled by the partial car ban on Patrick Street when it’s implemented at the end of the month.
The City Council is preparing to push ahead with a ban on cars, from 3pm to 6.30pm daily, on the city’s main retail street.
The street will still be open to buses and taxis but signs will be erected warning other motorists not to use the road during these times.
Head of Cork’s Divisional Traffic Corps, Inspector Finbarr O’Sullivan, said they expect tourists, especially those using sat-navs, to be confused by the ban.
“Obviously the first day, people will be a bit confused anyway because it is a major route for the city centre, it is actually a major national road, so people will follow GPS and that will lead them through it.”
The head of the Divisional Traffic Corps also said the nature of the ban would be difficult to implement.
“It is only a partial one-way system, it is not a blocked road, so people will end up down there.
“We will have to wait and see, hopefully, people will abide by it, but blatant disregard will be taken seriously and will not be tolerated.
“You won’t know how it will work out until it actually happens because you have a lot of traffic going through every day. We will monitor the situation the first few days and see what is happening with it.”
With regards to advertising the change, Insp O’Sullivan said it was guaranteed people would get lost regardless of promotion.
“No matter how well you advertise it people are going to get lost because there are so many one way streets around the city anyway. I suppose the best way is to incrementally expose people to this.”
Inspector O'Sullivan continued, "Hopefully, people will abide by it, but blatant disregard will be taken seriously and will not be tolerated.
"You won’t know how it will work out until it actually happens because you have a lot of traffic going through every day. We will monitor the situation the first few days and see what is happening with it.”
Insp O’Sullivan said the Gardaí would be working hard to implement the changes.
“It is something we will have to monitor and advise people.”
A Cork City Council Spokesperson for Roads and Transportation said the restricted access measure for private cars was not an overall traffic ban.
“The measure has been designed to improve the level of service for pedestrians on the main thoroughfare and to improve bus journey times through the city centre.”
The spokesperson said the proposed changes should not lead to confusion as drivers will be made aware of the restrictions on Variable Message Signs (VMS) on all approaches which will identify alternative routes.
The arrangements for Half Moon St will still allow access for all traffic heading towards Emmet Place.
Taxis will continue to have access to the stand on Drawbridge Street and will also access Patrick Street via Academy Street. Taxis will not be restricted in terms of access to the existing routes.
General traffic will also proceed onto Drawbridge Street and exit via Perry Street. Bowling Green Street is to be made two way to facilitate access to Opera lane Apartments only.
“It is envisaged that these routes will become the preferred routes for general traffic proceeding through the city centre. Over time, the service providers for sat navs and GPS will update details to reflect these preferred routes and flag that St. Patrick’s St is subject to time controlled restrictions.”