CITY engineers are hoping to kickstart the enhancement of the Blackrock greenway as early as next year.
It is part of a long-term goal to deliver a 25km continuous green route from Cork city to Crosshaven.
There are currently greenways between Blackrock and Passage West, and between Carrigaline and Crosshaven. Cork County Council is to advance plans to upgrade walking routes in Passage West and Monkstown to link the route together.
On the city end, plans include widening the existing Old Blackrock Railway Line, adding more on and off ramps and delineating clearer walking and cycling routes. More public lighting would also be added to improve safety.
City engineers are currently working on upgrades to the Skehard Road. Once this project is finished later this year, they will look at the rest of the south-east of the city, including the Blackrock project.
David Joyce, head of the environment directorate in Cork City Council, said that existing access ramps at Mahon Point have proven successful. The city is keen to add more of these over the coming years.
"The idea that you can now get off that walk and access businesses and other facilities has worked really well," he said.
"We are looking at planning a number of other access points the whole way along that walk. The idea will be that once you come into that walk on the greenway that you can access the whole thing, linking down as far as Rochestown, Harty's Quay and Passage West. You could hop on your bicycle and have an off-road greenway the entire way to the city centre.
"It will be great for people who want to get out of their cars and cycle, using healthy modes of transport."
It is envisioned that the greenway will be Cork's answer to the new Waterford Greenway, the 46km off-road cycling and walking route from Dunmanway to Waterford, which attracted more than 250,000 people in its first nine months of operation. Similar successful trails are available in Co Mayo and Co Louth.
The Cork route would come in at about 25km when completed, with links to Passage West and Monkstown planned as part of the proposal.
Some obstacles, such as narrow pathways have to be overcome, but it is expected that these can be addressed.
Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy welcomed plans to add to the city's green offering but stressed that some infrastructure would be needed to make it work.
"On the old railway line walk, I wouldn’t be for divisional areas for cyclist and pedestrian separately without the widening of the walkway. The narrow walkway on the old Railway line has regular encounters between cyclists and pedestrians, especially with young families. A better solution needs to be found to make sure that public safety for users of the walkway is upheld," he said.