The National Transport Authority (NTA) has today launched the second round of public consultation on the Sustainable Transport Corridors (STCs) earmarked for development as part of the BusConnects Cork programme, with a number of revisions made to the original proposals.
The latest round of public consultation centres on the preferred route options which have been identified.
It follows an initial round of public consultation on the emerging preferred routes last year.
BusConnects Cork is a €600m programme of work that aims to transform the city’s bus system, making public transport more accessible to more people.
The STCs are designed to deliver around 91km of new bus lanes/bus priority and 96km of cycle facilities.
Following the first round of public consultation on the STC proposals, the NTA said it has been reviewing the almost 3,000 submissions made by the public and "engaging constructively" with 35 residents’, business and special interest groups across the city.
Community Forums were also established for each corridor to help inform the review process.
This engagement process has resulted in a number of revisions to the STCs.
Among the changes are:
•The extent of the BusConnects scheme has been reduced, with the section between Dunkettle Roundabout and the Millennium Gardens to be separately developed by Cork City Council.
•Revised traffic arrangements are proposed to operate during peak hours only at Ballyhooly Road / Glen Avenue junction, restricting through traffic movement at these times and reducing traffic congestion on this radial corridor. This arrangement enables the removal of the previously proposed bus lane on Summerhill North.
•Spring Lane to be closed to traffic at Railway Bridge except for pedestrians and cyclists.
•The extent of bus lanes along Harbour View Road has been reduced, significantly decreasing overall property impacts. The previously proposed bus gate on Cathedral Road is no longer included.
•The bus gate previously proposed in Ballincollig Town Centre is no longer part of the scheme and additional on-street car parking spaces have been included. Various changes along this corridor, including proposed peak hours bus gates on Model Farm Road, have reduced the number of impacted properties.
•Cycle facilities along Glasheen Road, Cottage Mews and Schoolboy’s Lane replace the previously proposed route through Presentation College grounds.
•The Pearse Road section of this corridor has been removed. Along Pouladuff Road, an inbound bus gate will operate in AM peak hours only, removing the need for the previously proposed bus lanes, thereby reducing impacts on properties and parking.
•It is now proposed to direct cyclists from Curragh Road to Evergreen Road via a quiet street treatment on O’Connell Avenue. Replacement off-street car parking on Evergreen Road is also proposed.
•An outbound bus lane is no longer proposed on Douglas Road. To provide bus priority, a bus gate is proposed just east of the entrance to St Finbarr’s Hospital, operating during peak hours only.
•On Churchyard Lane and Boreenmanna Road, the amount of bus lanes proposed have been reduced, retaining the majority of trees and reducing property impacts. Additional off-street parking is proposed.
•A proposed bridge over the Mangala Valley and the Well Road Cycle Route are not included in the revised BusConnects proposals.
•Sunday’s Well to Hollyhill STC is no longer being progressed as an individual scheme, with sections of the corridor being incorporated into adjacent schemes.
The NTA, in collaboration with Cork City Council, is proposing a number of enhancements to urban spaces along the STCs including:
•Public realm improvements for Dillon’s Cross and St Luke’s Cross
•Public realm works including improved and enhanced street spaces and landscaping at Blackpool village.
•Village improvement works in Douglas Village such as placemaking, landscaping, and mobility improvements.
The proposed STCs, of which there are now 11, have been described as “fundamental to realising the ambition of the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy”, developed in connection with Cork City Council and Cork County Council, to increase the number of people using public transport in Cork fourfold by 2040 and expand the numbers cycling and walking by 33%.
Commenting following the publication of the revised proposals, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said BusConnects Cork is "central to Government plans to make it easier and more attractive to travel by bus as well as to cycle and walk around Cork city".
"It’s vital that commuters and communities continue to have their say on the proposals.
"These views will help the NTA and Cork City Council in finalising the Sustainable Transport Corridors and ensure that Cork has the public transport infrastructure to support a growing city," Mr Ryan continued.
CEO of the NTA, Anne Graham said that through engagement with local groups, the NTA has been able to identify issues of concern along some of the STCs.
"BusConnects Cork is needed now more than ever.
"The 91km of new bus lanes and bus priority and 96km in cycling infrastructure will help meet the rapidly growing demand for bus services and active travel as well as providing modern infrastructure for a modern European city.
"I would encourage the public to share their views on the preferred route options in the coming weeks.
"The NTA will also continue our two-way dialogue with community groups and public representatives in the weeks ahead.
"Your views will help to shape the final proposals and play a key role in creating a more sustainable future for communities across Cork city," she continued.
Meanwhile, the chief executive of Cork City Council Ann Doherty said the proposals published today "seek to take on board the feedback from the recent public consultation".
"The people of Cork have the opportunity once again to have their say on the amended proposals.
"I am confident that this project will unlock new opportunities to change how we travel and will also renew the city. We look forward to continuing our work with the NTA to bring the project forward," she added.
Consultation on the revised proposals begins today and runs until Thursday, May 25.
A series of information events will be hosted across Cork in April.
The NTA has stated that all submissions in the second round of public consultation will be reviewed with plans refined accordingly.
Technical, environmental, and transport impact assessment work will then take place with final plans due to be presented to An Bord Pleanála for statutory approval.
For more information on BusConnects Cork and the STCs, visit the BusConnects website.