23 February 2016
By Tom Collins
Members of the Little Island Business Association were asked for their opinions on traffic in the busy industrial area of Cork.
The LIBA received over 260 replies from members, employees and interested parties.
The Association said “it is clear from the replies that there are a number of reasons for the traffic congestion and a number of short, medium and long term solutions to the issue. To produce the results of this survey, all replies have been analysed in detail and a synopsis of these replies has been developed”
CAUSES OF TRAFFIC CONGESTION
1. Start time for most people at key hours of between 8am and 9am.
2. Departure time from Little Island for most people is between 4.45pm and 5.45pm.
3. The use of Eastgate Business Park as an access point to the An Crompan roundabout for people coming from other parts of the Island creates delays for those within Eastgate Business Park.
4. The Island Cross junction is inadequate and not fit for purpose.
5. Not enough public transport links for Little Island and in particular buses.
6. People not using public transport enough and with two train stations within easy distance of Little Island, there should be more use made of these facilities.
7. Motorists jumping queue system on slip road for Little Island Eastbound on the N25
SOLUTIONS AS PUT FORWARD
1. More people coming from the West should use the R623 slip road at the Dunkettle Roundabout to access Little Island.
2. Additional filter lane to the left when exiting Eastgate for traffic going to Glounthaune directionLittle Island and Glounthaune Railway Stations.
3. Businesses should seek to implement flexitime where possible for employees.
4. Implement a car pooling policy for Little Island that companies can manage themselves.
5. What has been proven to work very successfully in similar industrial complexes in Germany and the Netherlands is the personalised Travel Planning concept that looks at how workers travel to sites and looks at a variety of ways and incentives to ‘flatten the peak’ and reduce localised congestion. This could be through the use of car pooling and ride sharing through smart phone apps, real time information for trains, buses etc, bringing employees in to work earlier/later to do yoga classes, football etc, rearranging delivery times, renting bikes at the train station etc and looking how businesses could share facilities like showers, cycle parking etc. A Dublin based company Aecom have undertaken very similar projects for companies like Dell, DIT, KPMG, Pfizer etc but also on a city-wide basis in Singapore and have a lot of expertise there.
6. A bicycle system for Little Island which could be made available similar to the Cork city initiative.
7. The ‘Cycle to Work Scheme to be implemented and managed by Little Island Business Association so that more people are encouraged to own bicycles. The Cycle to Work Scheme is a tax incentive scheme which aims to encourage employees to cycle to and from work. Under the scheme employers can pay for bicycles and bicycle equipment for their employees and the employee pays back through a salary sacrifice arrangement of up to 12 months. The employee is not liable for tax, PRSI or the Universal Social Charge on their repayments.
8. A covered bicycle store at Little Island and Glounthaune train stations where people can leave their bicycles when returning home by train and collect them when returning to Little Island to work.
9. A safety statement needs to be issued to all Little Island motorists and especially those using the slip road to Little Island Eastbound on the N25 as queue jumping and lane crashing off the carriage way onto the slip road will result in accidents and possible injuries and deaths.
10. Existing the An Crompan roundabout and joining the main carriage way to Cork, the potential for access onto the wrong lane of the N25 is still problematic and fatal road accidents have already taken place involving this area and the safety poles in the centre of the road are inadequate.
11. A Master Plan for Little Island needs to be developed so that the future number of employees in the area can be assessed and their needs can be factored in so that the area can develop accordingly.
12. A new slip road to be located to the West of Little Island after the MSL Cork, Laya and Lilly buildings with an entry point to the western part of Eastgate Business Park and an exit point adjacent to the entry point.
13. The Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr. John Paul O’ Shea and Cork County Council CEO Tim Lucey and Senior Engineers of Cork County Council to be invited to Little Island and a presentation to be made to them on the needs of the area.
14. Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to be invited to Little Island and a presentation to be made to them on the needs of the area.
15. All Cork County Councillors representing the area and all TD’s, Senators and MEP’s representing the area to be invited to Little Island and a presentation to be made to them on the needs of the area.
MESSAGE FROM WILLIAM CUDDY, PRESIDENT, LITTLE ISLAND BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
“I am very pleased to see this first every traffic survey conducted in Little Island, and by our organisation Little Island Business Association. When we assess the current situations in relation to traffic in the area, it is important to note that Little Island is recognises as the premier business district in Ireland South and with vast further opportunity for growth and expansion so it is imperative that we plan for the future. It is fair to say that we are victims of our own success in Little Island and the great multinational brand names coupled with the huge number of SME’s that we have in Little Island and district is testament to what an area should offer its inhabitants. While the last eight years have all been about trying to stabilise the economy and in Little Island it has been about ensuring that we promoted and marketed the area so that businesses that were located here saw a safety network established here that was worth staying for and new businesses saw a progressive area with a progressive business association that looked after its own people and patch. We must of course now plan for the future and look at a Master Plan for Little Island and ensure that everything that we do is based on our area being fit for purpose and the best in class for the people who invest here, work here and consider moving amongst us. I believe Little Island will benefit from the new Dunkettle Interchange and I am hugely supportive of change and progress in any area that benefits Little Island and Cork as a whole. I am delighted to see the great level of engagement that members have with this survey and I genuinely believe we will make progress on this issue as we build the Little Island of the future.”
MESSAGE FROM MICHAEL MULCAHY, CEO, LITTLE ISLAND BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
“In seeking to conduct this survey, we were very conscious of the fact that many people working in certain parts of Little Island have to endure up to forty minutes of delays at peak times each day and in particular while leaving the area in the evening time. We were also conscious that some people view coming to visit businesses in certain parts of Little Island after 4pm as problematic as they will incur delays in leaving. We want to ensure that Little Island is a place of welcome for all, the residents of Little Island, the members of Little Island Business Association who have invested heavily in their businesses here, the many employees who work here every day as well as the many thousands of people who visit Little Island every day doing business or for a shopping or leisure experience. This survey is a first step in a process of us ‘Building the Little Island of the Future’ so that all aspects of the experience of living, working or visiting Little Island will be a pleasant experience. Cork County Council is at an advanced stage of its plans in addressing some areas in Little Island that need change so as to make them fit for purpose for the users of today in Little Island. The local Councillors have and are progressing matters on behalf of residents, business people and employees in Little Island. It is clear that there are more and more people working in Little Island and district each day now and with the economic climate improving, it is also clear that more Little Island based businesses intend hiring more people which will inevitably lead to more people coming to work by car or other means. As the premier business district in Ireland South, we believe the potential for Little Island as a key hub of employment in Cork could see a doubling of employment numbers in the area over the next ten years and we need to act now to be ready for this.
We have and want to have the best reputation of making new businesses and employees feel welcome and at home here and we will strive to implement plans for everything that is necessary to make that a reality. I want to thank all our members, employees of those member firms and the interested parties who took part in this survey and in particular I want to thank Kevin Burke, Senior Transport Planner, London Borough of Hackney for his help to date.”