Patrick's Street car ban to begin in March

Patrick's Street car ban to begin in March
Private cars will be banned from Patrick's Street from 3pm to 6.30pm each day. Picture: Denis Scannell

A PARTIAL ban on private cars on Patrick Street is to come into effect in a matter of weeks, as it’s revealed that buses are crawling through traffic-choked routes.

City Hall will ban private cars from driving on Patrick Street from 3pm to 6.30pm each day from ‘mid to late March’. The ban comes as a new report reveals that the worst traffic pinch points in Cork city are slowing buses down to average speeds of between one and six kilometres per hour.

A pinch-point review, carried out by Jacob’s Engineering for Bus Eireann, has revealed that buses are crawling on many city routes, often leading to delayed arrivals and inconsistent pick-up times.

Bus Éireann say their buses are slowed to less than 6kph at peak times in the city centre. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Bus Éireann say their buses are slowed to less than 6kph at peak times in the city centre. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Bus Éireann regional manager, Martin Walsh, described the report as “pretty damning”, saying: “It shows the 25 worst sections of bus route in Cork have average peak-hour speeds of between one and six kilometres per hour. That really points out that we need extensive bus lanes.

“Where there are bus lanes, we are up to 20 to 22 kilometres per hour and where there’s none, you’re down to two to three kilometres an hour — so there’s an absolutely massive difference.

“We have 2,637 bus movements through Cork city each day and 972 of those are through Patrick Street.”

Mr Walsh added: “There needs to be serious investment and commitment and tough decisions made in giving street space for bus lanes to allow all of our services to operate.”

The partial ban on private cars from driving on Patrick Street will help bus movements, but this will be limited from 3pm to 6.30pm each day.

Taxis, buses, emergency vehicles and cyclists will still have access to Patrick Street during these hours under the measure, which is a key component of the Cork City Centre Movement Strategy.

The controversial car ban was approved in late 2016 after the hours of the ban were reduced from 12pm to 6.30pm amid fears from traders.

There will be no physical barriers introduced to enforce the change as access will be maintained for public transport. CCTV is also in place on the street, though City Hall says this will not be used to monitor and target those who breach the new rules.

Instead, signage will be rolled out as part of an information campaign in the coming weeks once dates are finalised.

When the changes are introduced in March, enforcement will be down to the gardaí in a similar fashion to the monitoring of current bus lanes in the city centre.

It is understood City Hall officials are keen to introduce the changes during a quieter spell on the street, with the Easter holiday period in March the most likely time to see the change.

However, this is dependent on the completion of other works on Grattan Street and Grenville Place beforehand. It is anticipated that these will all be finished shortly.

Fine Gael councillor and former Lord Mayor John Buttimer said: “It has been a long process to date and we should see the next phase — the Patrick Street change — come into effect by mid-March.

“The proof will be in the pudding when that happens as for how the overall plan will work.”

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