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Cork city to try Patrick Street car ban for the second time - here's what you need to know

The last time things didn’t go so well.

TODAY MARKS CORK City’s second attempt to introduce a car ban on one of its busiest streets in a bid to reduce congestion.

From half three this afternoon, private cars will no longer be allowed to drive down Patrick’s Street, one of the city’s main arteries.

The only vehicles which will be allowed go down that road will be taxis, buses, bicycles and emergency service vehicles.

Private vehicles will be allowed back onto the street after 6.30pm.

Diversions will be put in place and a heavy garda presence is expected during the initial months to ensure compliance with the new measures.

The council said that the new measure is an attempt to prioritise bus routes and to keep traffic moving as Cork is preparing to accommodate 10,000 new jobs over the next two years.

The re-introduction of the St Patrick’s St bus priority corridor is to be accompanied by range of measures to improve and encourage access to the city centre.

They include:

  • Bus Éireann is to reduce bus fares in Cork’s Red Urban Zone to just €1 after 2pm every day from today to mid September.
  • From today half price parking will be offered at Paul Street and North Main Street car parks from 1pm to 6.30pm.
  • The opening hours of the city’s Park And Ride service will be extended to between 7am and 8pm The Park And Ride will be free of charge from 12 noon.

The council said that traffic congestion in Cork is now worse than it was at the height of the economic boom in 2007. Two thirds of the 110,000 vehicles entering the city centre every day are using it as a “through route” to other destinations.

It said this through traffic brings no benefit to businesses in the city and makes it more difficult for those who work, visit and shop in the city centre to get around.

A spokesman for Cork City Council said that the changes are needed to plan for Cork’s future.

He said: “The changes to traffic flow in Cork are due to exciting developments in the city. Cork city centre will soon have over 10,000 additional new jobs, 5,000 over the next three years and our traffic management system needs to be updated if we are to keep the city and its growing workforce moving.

“A considerable body of engineering work has already been completed by Cork City Council on the city quays to facilitate the changes which are limited to St. Patrick’s Street only. Even in the short period in which the changes operated in March/April last, bus journey times showed decreases of up 28% and car journey times in the city centre also showed significant improvements.”

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street How the diversions will work. Source: CCC

However, there has been pushback to the plans.

City councillor Tim Brosnan (FF) said the scheme would be bad for the city as a whole. He said that the plan would hurt small businesses in the city and was “hammering the character of the city”.

“It’s absolute madness.

“It would be as easy for the buses to go around St Patrick’s Street – it’s just as easy to walk to the South Mall or the quays.

“Bus Éireann is the one thing that’s not changing.

“It will affect people coming in and out of town.  Taking cars out won’t help the city or the buses – there’ll be traffic jams in the suburbs and other knock-on effects.

“They’re engineering things to a standstill.”

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