Cork City to host first Car Free Day on 23 September 2023


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18 September 2023

Cork City will host its first Car Free Day in the city centre on Saturday, September 23rd from 12 noon until 6.30pm.  


Cork City Council is hosting this initiative in collaboration with its partners Cork Environmental Forum, Transport & Mobility Forum, Cork Cycling Group, Bus Eireann, Irish Rail, Cork Chamber, Cork Business Association and An Garda Síochána. 


It comes following research, commissioned by Cork City Council's Climate Action Unit, that revealed 29% of greenhouse gas emissions in Cork City are caused by road transport.  A further study, published this week revealed that 64% of Cork people strongly agree that ‘Cork must transform into a more sustainable place to live and work that is climate neutral and resilient’ and that 86% of Cork people want more pedestrianized streets.  


Members of the public are encouraged to come to town on Saturday without their cars, either on foot, by bicycle or on public transport to enjoy the city's streets without traffic and soak up the atmosphere, which will include public information stands on cycling and sustainable transport, and an interactive performance devised by performer and architect Carolina Erika Santos and facilitated by artist Claudia Renzi, where the people of Cork will be invited to pin their dreams of a city full of nature rather than traffic to a line between the two rivers to “Fish for Dreams”.


The quays will be open to traffic as normal and street closures will be applied to Patrick Street, North Main Street, Cornmarket Street, Castle Street and Adelaide Street from 12 noon to 6.30pm. Buses and taxis will be able to access Patrick Street as normal.   


Lord Mayor, Cllr. Kieran McCarthy said‘This is a great opportunity for people to come into town and shop, maybe get a bite to eat or just walk around the city centre and enjoy the calm atmosphere. I am delighted that this event is taking place as part of European SDG week. We have seen from our recently published climate report that 29% of the emissions in Cork City are from cars. This is a small step in encouraging people to get out of the car and try a cleaner mode of transport.’


Conor Healy CEO of Cork Chamber commented, “decarbonising our transport offers a huge opportunity to reduce our emissions and to help reach our 2030 climate targets. Car Free Day is a great incentive to trial switching transport modes, whether it’s public transport, the Park’n’Ride, TFI bikes or walking. Reductions in traffic also create a more pleasant street atmosphere for those visiting, shopping and enjoying the cultural offering of our wonderful city.”


Kevin Herlihy, President of Cork Business Association said "Car Free day is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the fact that things are changing at a rapid pace in Cork City. We at the The Cork Business Association are advocates of the 15 minute model where people will be able to live, work and socialise within 15 minutes of the city centre. The future of transport will be walking, cycling and using public transport such as buses and in time, the light rail system. This Saturday, we would encourage all patrons of Cork City to leave the car at home and travel to the city using these modes of transport." 


Darren McAdam O'Connell from Cork Transport & Mobility Forum said "Great to see Cork joining so many Cities around Europe and the world in giving the street back to the people for a day. Streets were always social spaces for the people of the city to enjoy, to meet and greet their neighbors, until so much space was given over to traffic. I look forward to seeing my friends and neighbors out enjoying all the activities for the day in peace and quiet with space to stroll once again."


With Culture Night also taking place the night before and AutumnFest on Douglas Street the following day, it promises to be a great weekend of activity. 


While car parks are unaffected for those who do need to take the car, the organisers are encouraging everyone to walk, cycle or take public transport into town that day.