The changes are coming thick and fast these days.
As we all adapt to the new normal as part of the Government’s roadmap for lifting Covid-19 restrictions, Cork City Council has revealed the second raft of changes that will be made in the City Centre as part of Phase Two next month.
Further pedestrianisation of city centre streets, additional cycling facilities, the creation of ‘cycle and walk’ facilities and ‘click and collect’ set down areas are just a few of the proposals to facilitate the next phase of the reopening of Cork City during Covid-19.
Phase One of the re-opening of Cork began on Monday May 18th, with the pedestrianisation of Oliver Plunkett Street and the Marina until the end of August. If agreed, the following changes can be implemented in the short and medium-term:
- STREETS CLOSED TO TRAFFIC: Emmet Place, Father Matthew Street and Fitton Street East, Liberty Street and Cross Street, Castle Street and Daunts Square are being considered for pedestrianisation. Harley Street is currently closed to facilitate snagging work remaining from the streetscape works undertaken last year. The possibility of expediting snagging works will be investigated to facilitate pedestrians only using the street again.
- ONE-WAY WALKING: Consideration is being given to creating a one- way pedestrian movement on Tobin Street, French Church Street and Carey’s Lane. The option of implementing and encouraging pedestrians to move on the right side of the following pedestrian bridges is being considered: Mary Elmes Bridge, Shandon Bridge, St Vincent’s Bridge, Trinity Bridge, Nano Nagle Bridge. There will be no impediment on pedestrian movement but like the London Underground, pedestrians will be encouraged to walk on the right.
- OUTDOOR SPACE AND SEATING: Individual requests to assign road space on streets and place structures on the street will be considered on receipt of the details.
- BIKE STANDS: New bike stands are to be located at 43 new locations around the city to encourage people to consider cycling. These will be in key locations in the city centre, Blackpool, Douglas, Ballincollig, Tower, Glanmire and Blarney. “Not all of these sites may be suitable, but the City Council will do its best to deliver bicycle facilities at as many locations as feasible.” said a Council spokesperson.
- CLICK & COLLECT: Provision of set down or ‘click and collect’ areas to facilitate businesses are being considered on an area by area basis. Factors to be considered in the assessment include current availability of set down or parking spaces, availability of space to either provide new or reallocate existing parking to set down/click & collect, the demand for these type of spaces, other users’ needs including loading, disabled drivers etc.
- FASTER PEDESTRIAN CROSSING: The timings at pedestrian crossings on the city centre island have been altered to give increased priority to pedestrian movements at these locations, thus reducing waiting times and limiting the potential for queues to form.
‘We need a unique response’
“Working with the Government’s reopening roadmap, the €3.5 billion Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS) and our own City Centre Movement Strategy (CCMS) as our overriding framework, we wanted to take a creative but evidence-based approach to reawaken and reimagine our city,” said Cork City Council Assistant Chief Executive, Brian Geaney.
“First and foremost, we want residents, workers and visitors to the city to feel that they can safely practice social distancing in our city and that it is an attractive place to visit during these unusual times.
“While we are informed by other Irish and international cities, Cork is unique in the way that its homes, workplaces, retail and hospitality are configured and so we need a unique response. A street-by-street approach will be adopted in relation to particular on-street proposals. Cork City Council will seek unanimity of purpose as specific mobility measures are proposed for various streets,” he added.