9 April 2018

Cyclists support the Patrick Street car ban

Cork Cycling Campaign declared their support for the new traffic restrictions on St Patrick’s St and the broader strategy of improving movement through the city centre.  However, the group also sympathised with the concerns of traders and car drivers about disruptions caused by the ban.

The partial car ban prioritises high density, highly efficient public transport over the inefficient use of public space by private vehicles.  It increases the speed and reliability of bus travel, making Cork’s bus service more attractive.

The group noted that there are only two parking places for private cars along the whole of St Patrick’s St. Few car drivers would plan to stop along the street and therefore business owners would benefit little from cars driving through. In contrast, bus and taxi passengers and cyclists can easily stop and shop in town as part of their journeys.

Responding to trader concerns, Dean Venables from the Cycling Campaign said, “To see the long-term effects of the traffic changes on St Patrick’s St, traders should consider the impact of the car ban on Oliver Plunkett St in 2005. This was hugely successful. Oliver Plunkett St is now an incredibly vibrant street filled with large numbers of shoppers enjoying the pedestrianised environment.”

Oliver Plunkett Street won the Great Street Award 2016 among UK and Irish cities, a feat due in part to its traffic restrictions.

For car drivers, the Campaign pointed out that travel times through the city are determined primarily by the number of vehicles on the roads.  As more people travel by bus or bicycle, a change that the traffic restrictions encourages, drivers will also be able to move through the city more easily.  Cork’s bus commuter numbers are quite low, so higher bus usage rates are easily achievable.

While some short-term difficulties are unavoidable as the traffic plan is implemented, the Campaign believes the car ban will ultimately benefit commuters and traders.  The group urged commuters and traders to take a long term view on the traffic changes and echoed the City Council’s call for patience at this early stage.

Cork Cycling Campaign works with local councils, community groups, and other institutions to improve cycling infrastructure and encourage people to cycle. The Campaign’s focus is primarily on everyday cycling – that is, cycling as a form of transport. We also support the development of recreational cycling facilities.  The Campaign strives to improve safety for all cyclists and to encourage mutual consideration, understanding, and respect between cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians.