10 November 2019
By Bryan Smyth
Members of the Green Party in Cork have said that the recent revelation that the National Transport Authority (NTA) were in the early stages of developing a dedicated office to work on cycling infrastructure that would “focus on schemes in the Dublin City Council area” is a symptom of a wider problem in state funding & infrastructure development.
“Everyday we get calls, emails and tweets from constituents asking us about how we can make Cork a better place to cycle in, and a lot of the time the only answer we can really give them is something to the effect of ‘it’s not up to us, it’s under the purview of the NTA’,” said Green Party Councillor Lorna Bogue.
“It’s getting increasingly difficult to believe that this government really cares about cycling, or anywhere outside of Dublin. For the ‘National’ Transport Agency to openly say it’s only going to work on cycling in Dublin is a disgrace.
“Our colleagues in Dublin’s councils have noticed this oversight pretty much instantly, and they’re the people who should be concerned with Dublin – their local area – but a national body can’t? I guess we should be thankful they’re at least being upfront & transparent about it this time,” Councillor Bogue continued. The revelation came from the NTA in the form of a response to a question from Green Party Councillors in Fingal County Council earlier this week.
“We’re in the middle of a climate crisis, and a key part of combating this crisis is getting people to opt for public transport or cycling over their own car. How can we expect people to make this change if they can’t be sure of getting to work on time, or if they feel like they’re taking their life in their hands by just cycling down the road? Cork’s cycling infrastructure is dire, and this decision by the NTA to focus entirely on Dublin suggests that it won’t get much better any time soon.”
A recent survey conducted by the Cork Cycling Campaign revealed that less than 5% of cyclists believed that cycling infrastructure in Cork was fit for purpose, with nearly 75% of cyclists saying that safety concerns formed the biggest obstacle they faced in cycling on a regular basis.
“If the National Transport Agency doesn’t care about cycling in Cork, then maybe it’s time councillors were given both the funding & the ability to make the necessary changes for Cork to become a real city to cycle in,” Councillor Bogue concluded.
Meanwhile, Labour Cork Cllr John Maher has labelled the decision by the NTA to “open a cycle office in Dublin but not Cork an absolute joke.”
“The NTA must think we don’t have access to this information to think they can pull the wool over our eyes,” said Cllr Maher.
“A cycle office housed in Cork is the very least we need to promote and ensure cycle safety and cycle infrastructure is pursued. This affects the city and the surrounding suburbs. It affects school children and commuters and families who want to see alternatives to the private car dominance in our society. The NTA need to invest outside the M50 and not just point to CMATS as their get of jail free card at every turn.”