Cork City Council. Cork City Local Authority

Cork City Cycling Strategy



In recent years Local Authorities in Ireland have acknowledged the negative social and environmental aspects of increasing car usage. It is generally accepted that without remedial measures the impact of the private car on the quality of life within towns and cities will continue to increase. In response Local Authorities have increased their awareness of the impact of the motor vehicle on their towns and cities and have generally introduced measures to restrict their impact. These plans include the development of land use and transport plans, the introduction of parking controls, traffic calming measures and provision of measures to promote alternatives to the private car such as public transport, cycling and walking.

Cyclists experience numerous difficulties on the existing local road network, including the unpleasantness of cycling in heavy traffic, the danger from inconsiderate drivers and the risk of cycle theft. Encouraging cycling in Cork will require a range of measures including the introduction of physical improvements to the local road network for cyclists, the introduction of car restraint measures and the increase of driver and cyclist awareness. As Cork City Council recognises the importance of cyclists in the development of a sustainable transport policy for the city it commissioned a report by Arup Consulting Engineers in order to develop a safe and comprehensive cycle network in Cork City and its environs.

The National Development Plan 2000 – 2006 emphasised the importance of sustainable development, and cycling as an important part of any sustainable transport policy. The development of a network of cycle routes within Cork City will assist in achieving national and international energy and pollution targets, and release community benefits for the people of Cork.

The cycle network proposed for the city is based on linking the primary attraction nodes within Cork City which included:


The attraction nodes also included local schools, leisure facilities and areas of employment. The developing cycle network concentrated on the strategic radial routes into the city, but linked via an orbital route around the city centre and a number of suburban cycle routes linking the proposed radial routes.

The proposed cycle routes contained within the network, do not all specifically include segregated measures for cyclists, the objective of the cycle routes is to ensure that the routes are made safe, convenient and easy to use by all cyclists. The proposed cycling measures within the network include the following:


The study has made recommendations on general policies which need to be adapted by Cork City Council to encourage cycling within the city. These recommendations primarily include greater parking control, increased loading/unloading facilities and the implementation of green commuter plans for large scale developments.

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Existing Cycle Provision & Usage:

Cork City is a relative compact city with most of the suburban areas within 5 kilometres from the city centre. Based on average cycle time of 12 kilometres per hour the majority of the city is within a 25 minute cycle ride from the centre. Existing cycle use within Cork City is primarily restricted to students travelling to/ from school and college, with some commuters using the bicycle to travel to work in the city. There are limited facilities for cyclists within Cork at present and as identified by Cork City Council a more comprehensive network of facilities is required to improve the cycle facilities within the city.

Traffic surveys recorded on the local road network has shown that cycling on the city’s streets has decreased over the last 10 years from 1.90% in 1992 to 0.50% in 2002 i.e. a 3 fold decrease in the number of cyclists in Cork over the last ten years. The reduction in cycle use is due to a combination of measures including greater economic growth allowing greater access to motor vehicles, increased congestion resulting in reduced safety for cyclists and limited cycling infrastructure within the city.

Existing cyclists experience numerous difficulties cycling on the local road network, including the unpleasantness of cycling in heavy traffic, the danger from inconsiderate drivers and the risk of cycle theft. A number of these existing difficulties can be alleviated for the existing cyclists with the implementation of improved cycling measures and the education of both cyclists and drivers. However, the encouragement of non-cyclists to take up cycling is far more difficult as not only do the above measures need improvement, but also cycling has to compete against the convenience of the car and increased journey times.

Obviously, to overcome such difficulties requires that a range of measures, including the introduction of physical improvements to the local road network for cyclists, the introduction of car restraint measures, the increase of driver and cyclist awareness and the increase of the status of cycling within the city must be promoted.

There are currently a number of dedicated sections of cycleway located within Cork City. The majority of the routes are off-road facilities and are shared with the footpath. The existing facilities have some problems for cyclists in that they do not all follow the natural desire line for cyclist, cyclists have to give way to side road traffic and finally the pedestrians mistake the paths for their own and increase conflict between cyclist and pedestrian.

Existing cycle usage in Cork City is very low at approximately 0.5% of trips. There is potential to increase the cycling modal split in Cork City particularly in the south side where the topography is relatively flat and that traffic conditions in the area are congested during peak times making cycling comparable with respect to journey times by car. The northside of Cork City is quite hilly which may deter some from cycling. However the north side is more compact and is closer to the city centre which will attract people to travel by both bicycle and by foot.

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Development of Proposed Cycle Network:

Enhanced facilities for cyclists will be provided in a number of ways.


Councillors will be aware that at present 10 green routes are being developed in the city and suburban areas. Green routes are high quality, high profile public transport corridors where road space is set aside for public transport users, cyclists and pedestrians. The proposed cycle network will take advantage of the green routes where possible when developing detailed proposals to assist in the movement of cyclist in Cork City.

The Arup report focused on the development of strategic radial routes which will provide facilities for cyclists along the most important desire lines into the city centre. The network development follows the development of most transport infrastructure networks, with routes radiating out from the centre and connections between radial routes to allow cycle movements to orbit the centre. Radial cycle routes can broadly be achieved in the following ways:

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Recommended Cycle Network:

The proposed cycle network has been divided up into four types of cycle routes:

Radial cycle routes: travel from the main suburbs into the city centre.

Linked cycle routes: connect the radial cycle routes with one another

Orbital cycle route: circumvents the city centre

Leisure cycle routes:will be primarily traffic free cycle routes and are designed to introduce younger and new cyclists to cycling.

The cycle network includes 19 radial routes into the city centre and 17 linked cycle routes:

Number, radial cycle routes, and linked cycle routes
Number Radial Cycle Routes Linked Cycle Routes
1 Cathedral Road Cycle Route Harbour View Cycle Route
2 Fair Hill Cycle Route Sunvalley Road Cycle Route
3 Farranree Cycle Route Fairfield Avenue Cycle Route
4 Shannon Street Cycle Route Ballyvolane Road Cycle Route
5 Watercourse Road Cycle Route Well Road Cycle Route
6 Ballyhooley Road Cycle Route Eglantine Cycle Route
7 Old Youghal Road Cycle Route High Street Cycle Route
8 Montenotte Cycle Route Deer park Cycle Route
9 Lower Glanmire Road Cycle Route Bothar Na Piaras Cycle Route
10 Blackrock Road Cycle Route Deanrock Cycle Route
11 Skehard Road Cycle Route Clashduv Road Cycle Route
12 Douglas Road Cycle Route Sarsfield Road Cycle Route
13 South Douglas Road Cycle Route Rossa Avenue Cycle Route
14 Kinsale Road Cycle Route Patrick Street Cycle Route
15 Pouladuff Road Cycle Route North Main Street Cycle Route
16 Togher Road Cycle Route Princes Street Cycle Route
17 Curraheen Road Cycle Route Parnell Place Cycle Route
18 Model Farm Road Cycle Route  
19 Carrgrohane Road Cycle Route  


A total of seven leisure routes are also proposed. The development of these leisure routes will ideally allow those such as parents to teach their kids how to cycle in a safe traffic free environment. In addition it will allow existing non-cyclists an opportunity to experience cycling in a pleasant and safe environment. It is envisaged that the majority of the cycle routes within the leisure areas are free from traffic and have dedicated facilities separate to that for pedestrians. The seven leisure routes include:



City Centre Orbital Route

This cycle route circumvents the city centre allowing each of the proposed radial routes to connect with one another within the city centre. The route travels along Clontarf Street, Albert Quay, Union Quay, George’s Quay, Sullivan’s Quay, French’s Quay, Proby’s Quay, Bishops Street, Sharman Crawford Street, St Finbarr’s Bridge, Woods Street, Grenville Place, Bachelors Quay, Kyrl’s Quay, Coal Quay, Lavitt’s Quay, Merchant’s Quay. The proposed cycling improvement measures are noted below.

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Road Infrastructure Development:

The design of any future new urban roadways in Cork City should be designed to include for cyclists. The following design criteria are recommended, however, due to site constraints and traffic flows some of the design criteria below may not be achievable or required.


Increasing cycling usage in Cork City will require an integrated approach between improving the cycling infrastructure and promoting its use. The provision of improved cycling infrastructure will go some way to increasing cycling use within Cork, however, additional policy measures and controls will be required to ensure cycling remains attractive, particularly with regard to parking control and new developments within Cork City.

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The cycle network proposed for Cork City and environs will be carried out a phased basis and will concentrate in its initial phases on areas where there is potentially a high yield in attracting new cyclists onto the street network. In addition a number of segregated leisure routes are also recommended to allow existing non-cyclists an opportunity to experience cycling in a pleasant and safe manner within the city. The construction and implementation of the proposed cycle network depends on a number of issues, including: consultation with interested bodies, funding and co-ordination with other infrastructural schemes. As part of this study the various elements of the cycle network have been prioritised based on potential cycle use and ease of implementation.

Phase 1

Radial Cycle Routes: Curraheen Road Cycle Route, Model Farm Road Cycle Route (between Carrigrohane Bridge and the junction of Bandon Road/ Green Street.).

Linked Cycle Routes: Rossa Avenue Cycle Route, Sarsfield Road Cycle Route, Clashduv Road Cycle Route.

Phase 2

Radial Cycle Routes: Carrigrohane Road Cycle Route, Watercourse Road Cycle Route, Shandon Street Cycle Route, Lower Glanmire Road Cycle Route.

Phase 3

Radial Cycle Routes: Douglas Road Cycle Route, South Douglas Road Cycle Route, Kinsale Road Cycle Route.

Linked Cycle Routes: High Street Cycle Route.

Phase 4

Radial Cycle Routes: Togher Road Cycle Route, Pouladuff Road Cycle Route

Linked Cycle Routes: Deer Park Cycle Route, Bothar Mac Piarias Cycle Route, Deanrock Cycle Route.

Phase 5

Radial Cycle Routes: Blackrock Road Cycle Route, Skehard Road Cycle Route.

Linked Cycle Routes: Well Road Cycle Route, Eglantine Cycle Route.

Phase 6

Radial Cycle Routes: Cathedral Road Cycle Route, Fair Hill Cycle Route, Farranree Cycle Route.

Linked Cycle Routes: Harbour View Cycle Route, Sunvalley Road Cycle Route, Fairfield Avenue Cycle Route.

Phase 7

Radial Cycle Routes: Ballyhooley Road Cycle Route, Old Youghal Road Cycle Route, Montenotte Cycle Route.

Linked Cycle Routes: Ballyvolane Road Cycle Route.

Phase 8

Radial Cycle Routes: City Centre Orbital Cycle Route

Linked Cycle Routes: Saint Patrick Street Cycle Route, North Main Street Cycle Route, Princes Street Cycle Route, Parnell Place Cycle Route.

The development of the network of cycle routes proposed in this study will give both residents and tourists in the area a safe and healthy way to travel and experience Cork City. The cycle network will, with active encouragement, reduce the volume of traffic within the city centre by allowing a greater modal choice with the provision of the cycle routes.

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