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Cork embarks on permanent pedestrianisation of 17 city centre streets

Cork embarks on permanent pedestrianisation of 17 city centre streets

Resurfacing works commence today as part of the “Reimagining Cork City” programme

Cork City Council and its contractors Lagan Asphalt Ltd. have begun resurfacing works on some of the 17 downtown streets scheduled for permanent pedestrianisation in Ireland’s second-largest city. As of today, street surfaces are being enhanced on Caroline Street, Pembroke Street, Oliver Plunkett Street, Cook Street and Maylor Street. If the weather allows, on 19 April similar works are expected to start on Paul Street, St. Peter and Paul’s Place, Little Ann Street and Little Cross Street. 

Responding to social distancing reality

Seventeen streets were temporarily made pedestrian-only last summer as part of the “Reimagining Cork City” programme, which addressed the challenges of the new social distancing requirements, imposed by the pandemic, giving priority to walking, cycling and outdoor dining. This initiative was met with universal acclaim, and after a series of public consultations, the city council agreed to permanently pedestrianise these streets from 1 January 2021.

Under the programme, Cork City Council and the Cork City Local Enterprise Office joined hands with local communities and businesses to introduce measures allowing the city to be enjoyed in a new way that is safe and pleasurable in equal measure. 

This included temporary pedestrianisation of 1.3 km of city streets, where outdoor seating license fees for catering establishments were waived to help them attract more clients; creation of more green spaces; pedestrianisation of a further 1.3 km of amenity space at the Marina; improvement of existing cycling infrastructure with the addition of 43 new bike racks capable of accommodating at least 500 bicycles; and the creation of 4 km of new bike lanes citywide. Cork City Council invested almost EUR 2 million in these projects, which support social distancing, city communities, local business and the tourism sector.   

Speaking on the occasion, Lord Mayor of Cork Joe Kavanagh said, quoted by the city website: “The Cork City spirit is nothing if not resilient – just over a century ago it faced down the devastation of the Burning of Cork and now we find ourselves again ready to rise from the ashes of Covid-19, with new and innovative ways of living, working and doing business, reimagining our city’s infrastructure. The recent government announcement of an unprecedented investment of almost EUR 400 million in Cork City shows that our own confidence in the city’s ability to bounce back is reflected nationally.”

Sustainable urban growth

Cork City Council Director of Operations (Roads & Environment), David Joyce added: “The permanent pedestrianisation of these streets is a measure that accelerates our long-term vision for creating sustainable urban growth.  All of these works being undertaken by Cork City Council are aimed at making the city a safe, inclusive and pleasant place for residents, shoppers & visitors and to support local business. Encouraging people to live in, shop in, recreate in and visit Cork City is of critical importance to us all going forward and to the future vitality of the City as an attractive and desirable place to be.”

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