CARS 0 v PEDESTRIANS 1: as Cork City PERMANENTLY pedestrianises streets

7 April 2021
By Tom Collins opinion: The move will be welcomed by those who enjoy walking around the City centre and Al Fresco Dining (The Diners Club?!), but what about the elderly/disabled who used to enjoy parking their cars as close as possible to shops? and what about shops themselves, what do they think?  Times change. Personally, this decision will discourage me from visiting the City centre in so far as parking will become more difficult, however perhaps the experience will be better?, Alas, no decision will please everyone. Pedestrianisation is the way the wind is blowing in many EU cities.

The streets were temporarily pedestrianised last summer as part of the “Reimagining Cork City” programme, in order to facilitate social distancing and outdoor dining.  Following an overwhelmingly positive reaction to this initiative and following a series of public consultations, it was agreed to permanently pedestrianise 17 of these streets from January 1, 2021.

To enhance these street surfaces, making them more pleasant and safer for residents, shoppers and diners, the City Council and its contractors Lagan Asphalt Ltd. will begin resurfacing works on Caroline Street, Pembroke Street, Oliver Plunkett Street, Cook Street and Maylor Street on April 12.  Weather dependent, similar works are expected to begin on Paul Street, St. Peter and Paul’s Place, Little Ann Street and Little Cross Street on April 19. 

On these dates, traders are encouraged to arrange deliveries for before 9:30 a.m. as once works begin, the streets will be inaccessible to vehicles. However, as work sites will be located behind barriers and pedestrian crossing points will be set up at key locations, all of these streets will remain accessible to pedestrians to the maximum extent possible. Traffic management operatives will be onsite during daytime hours to assist with access to homes and businesses.  The new pedestrianised hours will apply to a number of streets (listed below) with the commencement of the revised closing times following on soon after the improvident works have been completed.

File photo of Marlboro Street from September 2020 showing Al Fresco Dining

Last year Cork City Council and the Cork City Local Enterprise Office worked with communities, traders, streets and business representative groups to introduce measures to allow the city to be enjoyed in a new safe way.  This included the temporary pedestrianisation of 1.3 km of city streets and the waiver of outdoor seating licence fees to allow up to 1,000 residents and visitors to eat and drink alfresco; enhanced greening of the City; the pedestrianisation of a further 1.3 km of amenity space at the Marina; the improvement of existing cycling infrastructure (including that improved bike parking with the installation of 43 new cycling racks capable of accommodating at least 500 bikes) and the creation of 4 km of new cycle lanes citywide.  With an investment of just under €2 million in these programmes, Cork City Council supported social distancing, our communities, local business and our tourism sector.

Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. Joe Kavanagh said:

“The Cork City spirit is nothing if not resilient – just over a century ago it faced down the devastation of the Burning of Cork and now we find ourselves again ready to rise from the ashes of Covid-19, with new and innovative ways of living, working and doing business, reimagining our city’s infrastructure.  The recent government announcement of an unprecedented investment of almost €400 million in Cork City shows that our own confidence in the city’s ability to bounce back is reflected nationally.”

The current Lord Mayor is Cllr. Joe Kavanagh
Pic: Brian Lougheed

Director of Operations (Roads & Environment), David Joyce said:

“Cork City Council is committed to supporting the local economy, businesses, residents and visitors to Cork City as the City reopens and onward into the post-pandemic future.  The permanent pedestrianisation of these streets is a measure that accelerates our long-term vision for creating sustainable urban growth.  All of these works being undertaken by Cork City Council are aimed at making the city a safe, inclusive and pleasant place for residents, shoppers & visitors and to support local business.  Encouraging people to live in, shop in, recreate in and visit Cork City is of critical importance to us all going forward and to the future vitality of the City as an attractive and desirable place to be.”

Over the coming weeks, Cork City Council will begin to give permanent effect to pedestrianisation.

The first streets where extended pedestrianised hours will be implemented will be:

  • Oliver Plunkett Street from 11am to 4am, 7 days a week,
  • Cook Street South, from 11am to 4am, 7 days a week,
  • Caroline Street, from 11am to 4am, 7 days a week,
  • Pembroke Street, from 9.30 am to 4am, 7 days a week,
  • Princes Street South, 9.30 am to 4am, 7 days a week.
  • The Marina, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

A second phase of permanent pedestrianisation will include:

  • Grafton Street, from 11am to 4am, 7 days a week,
  • Marlboro Street South, from 11am to 4am, 7 days a week,
  • Robert Street, from 11am to 4am, 7 days a week,
  • Morgan Street, from 11am to 4am, 7 days a week,
  • Smith Street, from 11am to 4am, 7 days a week, from its junction with Oliver Plunkett Street to its junction with Phoenix Street,
  • Phoenix Street, from 9.30 am to 4am, 7 days a week, from its junction with Pembroke Street to its junction with Crane Lane,
  • Beasley Street, from 9.30 am to 4am, 7 days a week,
  • Tuckey Street, 11am to 4 am, 7 days a week.
  • Little Cross Street 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Little Ann Street, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Emmet Place, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Peter and Paul’s Place and part of Paul St., 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

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