What are the Changes?
From August 9, private cars and trucks will be re-routed away from St Patrick’s Street between 3.00pm and 6.30pm.
During this three and a half hour period, access to St. Patrick’s St. will be limited to buses, taxis, emergency vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.
Significant improvements to bus services and to car journeys in Cork city will follow the re-introduction of this bus priority corridor.
The St. Patrick’s St. bus priority corridor is a key element in the City Centre Movement Strategy (CCMS) which seeks to address the serious traffic management issues accompanying welcome economic growth (10,000 new jobs in the city centre within five years) and the substantial increase in population and vehicles projected for the years ahead.
Traffic congestion in Cork is now worse than it was at the height of the economic boom in 2007. However, two thirds of the 110,000 vehicles entering the city centre every day are using it as a “through route” to other destinations. This passing 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.
The re-routing of private cars and trucks away from St Patrick’s St. in the afternoon will allow the city’s buses to transport people in the city centre much more quickly and efficiently. St Patrick’s Street is the main public transport “hub” in the city with almost 1,000 buses using the street each day yet many of these buses lose time each day due to traffic congestion on the city’s main thoroughfare.
Motorists will also benefit from the changed traffic flows as a considerable body of engineering work has already been completed by Cork City Council on the city quays to facilitate these changes. Even in the short period in which the re-routing changes operated in March/April last, bus journey times showed decreases of up to 28% and car journey times in the city centre also showed significant improvements.
As part of CCMS, an afternoon priority bus corridor was introduced on St. Patrick’s St. earlier this year. Because of subsequent concerns raised by city centre businesses, Cork City Council agreed to pause the introduction of this corridor until August 9th to allow for (1) significant engagement to increase awareness of the CCMS and its role in addressing traffic congestion (2) the development of a comprehensive promotional campaign for the city centre, in conjunction with business stakeholders.
In recent months, Cork city centre’s CORE Group, representing Cork Chamber, Cork Business Association, Cork Hospitality Alliance, Bus Eireann, Gardaí, retail sector, executive and elected members of Cork City Council has been working extremely hard to develop a suite of communications, marketing and operational initiatives aimed at ensuring a smooth and effective reintroduction of the bus priority corridor on St. Patrick’s St.
The re-introduction of the bus priority corridor is being accompanied by a series of measures to improve and encourage access to the city centre. These include:
- A network of 26 set down parking spaces is being established on South Mall, Grand Parade, Parnell Place, Drawbridge & Cornmarket St to facilitate shoppers and visitors.
- From August 9, half price parking will be offered at Paul Street and North Main Street Car Parks from 12 noon 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
- Reduced bus fares will be available from August 9
- Passengers on the northbound 203 and 215 buses will also be stopping on St. Patrick’s St. for the first time.
- The extension of the Park and Ride service into the city centre. There will be additional stops at Merchants Quay, St Patrick’s St, Grand Parade and South Mall to improve connectivity between the Park and Ride and city centre.
The changes due to take place on St. Patrick’s St. are a small but important step towards the establishment of a rapid transit system linking Ballincollig and Mahon, via the city centre, including the Docklands.