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.
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 hard to develop a range of communications, city centre 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 'Super 7' measures to improve and encourage access to the city centre. These include:
- Bus Eireann reduced bus fares for Leap Card users in Cork's Red Urban Zone to just €1 after 2pm every day from August 9th to mid September
- The Park and Ride service has extended. There are additional stops at Merchant’s Quay, St. Patrick’s St, Grand Parade and South Mall to improve connectivity between the Park and Ride and the city centre.
- A network of free 15-minute set down parking spaces on South Mall, Grand Parade, Parnell Place, Drawbridge & Cornmarket St to facilitate shoppers and visitors.
- From August 9th - September 30th, half price parking was available at Paul Street and North Main Street Car Parks if you entered from 1pm to 6.30pm. After 6.30pm, a flat rate evening charge applied.
- The opening hours of the city’s Park And Ride service has extended to 7am - 8.30pm
- The Park And Ride was free of charge from 12 noon, Monday - Saturday (August 9th - September 30th)
- Passengers on the northbound 203 bus are now stopping on St. Patrick’s St.
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. 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.
Public transport is key to planning for our growing workforce. The new traffic arrangements now in place, which form part of the City Centre Movement Strategy, will allow the city's buses to transport people in the city centre much more quickly and efficiently. Last year, 12.6 million people used city bus services and St. Patrick's Street is the main public transport 'hub' with almost 1,000 buses using the street each day.
A considerable body of engineering work has already been completed by Cork City Council on the city quays to facilitate the changes. Traffic signalling has been changed to ensure better traffic flow. Even in the short period in which the 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.
Additional P&Rs are an objective of Cork City Council and potential locations will be included in a major transport plan for Metropolitan Cork that is due to be published in the coming months.
The additional park and rides are dependent on the introduction of bus priority measures on related routes which are necessary to ensure that the park and ride bus is not delayed due to general traffic congestion. The rerouting of traffic on St Patrick’s Street is one step towards improving that bus journey time.