A prioritised focus on quick wins is needed to improve sustainable and public transport across Metropolitan Cork. So says Cork Chamber in a submission to the National Transport Authority on the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Plan; an investment plan totalling €3.5bn.
Among its list of eleven quick wins, the Chamber suggests:
Designating bus corridors throughout Metropolitan Cork to improve bus reliability
Prioritising the delivery of new park & rides while maintaining BlackAsh
Extending the rail commuter zone to include Mallow and improving rail frequencies
Pedestrianising the Marina for walking and cycling
Identifying quiet way cycling routes
Protecting existing cycling infrastructure to enhance safety
Commenting, Conor Healy, Cork Chamber CEO, said:
“While we welcome this strategy and the goal of transforming Cork’s public and sustainable transport networks to 2040, it is critical that there are wins in the short term to garner long term support for the plan.”
“By rethinking the use of our existing infrastructure, we believe there are plenty of interventions which would immediately improve the attractiveness of using sustainable transport modes throughout metropolitan Cork at a relatively low cost.”
Referencing the proposed delivery timelines within the plan, Mr. Healy added: “Fundamentally we disagree with the view of 2026 being short term. This is not nearly ambitious enough for a city which is seeing significant private sector investment, and which will continue to grow.”
“Cork has an immediate need for improved walking, cycling, bus and rail networks as increasingly employees want to have the choice of commuting to work without a car. Better public transport is top of the list of Cork businesses’ needs and with over 10,000 jobs to be created in the next five years, the value of investing in walking and cycling cannot be underestimated.”
Concluding, Mr Healy said: “The strategy has a very strong cost ratio of 2.48, which clearly demonstrates the huge potential in Cork for shifting commuting patterns. Given such a positive return on taxpayers’ money, we suggest that early funding is released, and that delivery is focused on realistic short-term interventions that reap immediate benefits for people living or working in Cork.”
The submission also calls for consideration of Cork Harbour for water-based transport for commuting purposes as well as regulation of electric scooters.
To assist delivery, the Chamber also recommended the establishment of an NTA delivery office in Cork and called for the plan to be placed on a firm statutory footing.