Cork needs to bring cycling infrastructure 'into the 21st century'

Sixteen spaces for cyclists at County Hall “are of course very welcome, but they are not visible to the public. They don’t send the message that cyclists are welcome and accommodated.”
Cork needs to bring cycling infrastructure 'into the 21st century'

The Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy aims to increase this to four per cent, and studies have shown that transforming spaces into guaranteed car parking spots turns commuters into car users, while turning them into bicycle routes “sends a signal that cycling is supported”, said Cllr D’Alton. Pic; Larry Cummins

Cork’s cycling infrastructure needs to come into the 21st century, according to a Cork County Councillor.

Cllr Marcia D’Alton called on Cork County Council to install “a secure, covered bicycle parking facility at the front of County Hall to clearly evidence the organisation’s support for and encouragement of commuting by bike.” 

Cllr D’Alton said Ireland’s climate goals include provision for more biking. The government’s climate action plan aspires to create an additional half a million active and public transport journeys per day by 2030. 

“In Cork alone, the car is used in 74 per cent of trips. Cycling is only one per cent of the modal share.” 

The Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy aims to increase this to four per cent, and studies have shown that transforming spaces into guaranteed car parking spots turns commuters into car users, while turning them into bicycle routes “sends a signal that cycling is supported”, said Cllr D’Alton.

County Hall is within the Cork City jurisdiction. 

“It is a very easy place to cycle to. For someone working in the city, it’s much easier to take a bike at lunchtime and pop into the county library or into the public planning desk, than to pull out a car.” Equally, it’s easier for someone in County Hall to do a quick job in the city with a bicycle, than driving. Cllr D’Alton said that, for the convenience of cycling from County Hall’s location, there is “remarkably little bicycle parking available at County Hall.” 

Cllr D’Alton said she was disappointed by the facilities provided to her as a cyclist when she cycled to County Hall during the Summer. 

“The reality is that the failure to provide obvious and secure bicycle parking sends an obvious message that bicycles and those who ride them are less valued than those who drive cars,” said Cllr D’Alton. 

Sixteen spaces for cyclists at County Hall “are of course very welcome, but they are not visible to the public. They don’t send the message that cyclists are welcome and accommodated.” The spaces are neither locked nor overlooked by CCTV, meaning they are not secure.

So far this year, some 7,000 bikes have been reported as lost or stolen. Electric bikes are a genuine alterative to the car, but they are “a valuable piece of kit.” “The UCC campus gives a sense of what genuine support for a cycling culture looks like,” with eight bike parking stations providing around 240 bike spaces. Five are fully or partially covered, and protected by CCTV, added Cllr D’Alton.

Director of Services, Patricia Liddy, responded: “Cork County Council is currently examining suitable options for an additional potential location of a covered bicycle parking facility to augment the three existing bicycle parking stations on-site. In 2023, another public bicycle parking station will become operational.” “Cork County Council is working with the National Transport Authority (NTA) in respect to the development of a public cycling transport scheme at the front of the campus fronting on to the Carrigrohane Road, which will provide a parking and hire station for an additional 30 publicly available bicycles as a replacement for four vehicular parking spaces, this work is scheduled to begin soon.

“The examination mentioned will determine the possibility of bringing the total number of bicycle parking stations on campus to five, four of which will be open to the public. The evolution of the site at HQ over the past number of years appropriately represents the Council's support for cycling as an alternate means of transportation to cars,” added Ms Liddy.

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