Proposed parking changes for Cork city opposed

Dr Darren McAdam-O’Connell of Cork’s Transport Mobility Forum (TMF) said he opposes the variation as it “attacks the progress that was made, and it’s a step backwards”.
Proposed parking changes for Cork city opposed

Green Party councillors, Oliver Moran and Dan Boyle, are opposing the variation. Picture: Denis Scannell

A PROPOSED change to the Cork City Development Plan 2022 - 2028 that would see revised parking standards, has met with strong opposition from transport campaigners who say it will increase car density and push up house prices.

Director of Cork City Council’s Strategic Planning Directorate Fearghal Reidy put forward the proposed variation, which was open to submissions from the public from October 28 to November 25.

A spokesperson for Cork City Council said the objective of the variation is to better align car parking standards with the current provision of public transport.

Dr Darren McAdam-O’Connell of Cork’s Transport Mobility Forum (TMF) said he opposes the variation as it “attacks the progress that was made, and it’s a step backwards”.

“Under the plan, Cork is divided into zones, with the city centre as Zone 1 being the least car-dependent, while Zones 2, 3, and 4 are increasingly more car-dependent. If the variation comes into force, residents could find themselves moved into a different zone, affecting their transport options, quality of life, and their cost of renting and housing.”

“The variation is to shrink that Zone 1 into a very small area of the city centre,” said Dr McAdam-O’Connell.

Zone 2, which had included Ballincollig, “has been shrunk into a tiny area at the edge of the city centre. All the areas which are currently easy enough to live without a car, are now being shrunk down to a couple of streets around the bus station, and streets around a proposed railway station.

“Even the Main Street in Ballincollig is being put in Zone 4, which was meant for agricultural land that would never be served by public transport. We cannot see the logic in that.”

The amendment would push up the cost of housing, said Dr McAdam-O’Connell.

“If you are building an apartment complex, each car parking space costs as much, and takes as much space, as a bed space. For every three car parking spaces, you’ve got to remove a three-bedroom unit. That would be a family home, or it could be three to six people in a house sharing.”

Numerous parties have lodged submissions to the public consultation.

Green Party councillors, Oliver Moran and Dan Boyle, are opposing the variation. Mr Moran said the proposed amendment would “very significantly increase the allowable provision of private parking facilities in the city relative to the adopted Cork City Development Plan.

“This reversal in trajectory is contrary to national policy, which is to encourage active and sustainable transport use and to discourage private car use.

“It would undermine the city’s own ambition as an EU Mission City to be climate neutral by 2030, having already recognised and declared a climate emergency in the city in 2019.”

Transport Infrastructure Ireland said it “is of the opinion that the approach promoted in the variation in its current form in Zones 3 and 4 will encourage private car dependency and will potentially undermine active travel and public transport provision in the short- to medium-term thus creating an adverse impact on the national road network. TII therefore recommends the current variation proposal is paused to address these matters including consultation with the NTA and TII with regard to developing an appropriate car-parking regime for the city region.”

A submission from a member of the public said the proposed revision “does not align with local commitments to sustainable development, climate action, or the objectives and sustainable ethos of the Cork City Development Plan 2022-2028.

It added: “Furthermore, the revision comes into direct conflict with national climate action targets and commitments to ensure sustainable mobility and a transition to a low carbon and climate resilient society. Cork city is already car-centric, and this needs to desperately change. People are the heart of our city and this must be reflected in development decisions.”

Another said they “would like to strongly object to the change in land use for private parking in this variation to make it easier for more private parking”.

“This goes against and is not consistent with the City Development Plan, Climate Action Plan, and Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS).

“It would also create further complexities for BusConnects. I would strongly suggest this be retained as it currently is in all zones, especially Ballincollig and Douglas.”

Another submission said: “providing more space for car parking is not consistent with the city development plan and national climate action goals for reducing high car dependency and encouraging modal shift to sustainable transport modes, walking, cycling and public transport.”

The JCD Group supported the amendment: “The proposed variation is a reasonable and practical interim approach to ensure that the economic potential of the city, in particular in its strategic employment areas, can continue to be realised in the face of increased global competition for new business development and inward investment, pending the implementation of the significant public transport interventions envisaged in the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy.”

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