Plans have been unveiled to ease traffic gridlock in one of the busiest commuter towns in the country, with dedicated bus/cycling and walking corridors, new off-street parking and a more continental-style town centre.
Details of the plans for Carrigaline were revealed to local councillors by officials from Cork County Council’s Road and Transportation directorate, who have been working closely on the project with the National Transport Authority (NTA) and external consultants.
The major emphasis of the plan is to drastically improve public transport in the area.
Engineers said that compared to similar towns, there were fewer jobs in Carrigaline itself, and this was the main reason so many people commuted to work elsewhere. It is estimated that 70% of locals use their cars for this.
The Carrigaline Transportation and Public Realm Enhancement Plan (TPREP) highlights the need to address this with better bus services in and out of the area connecting with Cork City, Cork Airport, and Ringaskiddy.
Dedicated bus corridors will be created in an effort to improve timetable reliability.
The plan also focuses on the need to develop a greenway from Carrigaline to Ringaskiddy.
Engineers have held meetings with local school principals to see how car journeys can be reduced to schools.
They are proposing a 30km speed limit in the town core, widening footpaths, and the development of off-street parking on the eastern and western sides of Main St.
Fianna Fáil councillor Seamus McGrath, who lives in the town, described the plan as “significant and transformative”. He said construction of the town’s inner relief road should be completed by next summer, and this would also have a positive impact on Carrigaline.
“The plan will have to be done on a phased basis,” said Mr McGrath said.
Independent councillor Marcia D’Alton said it would make Carrigaline “a landmark town”.
Independent councillor Ben Dalton-O’Sullivan said public consultation would be needed as phases of the plan were being implemented. He was assured by council officials that this would be carried out.
Meanwhile, council engineers also revealed plans for a “public-realm upgrade’ in Ringaskiddy.
The work will be funded from development contributions made by the Port of Cork as part of its multi-million-euro upgrade of its container-handling facilities in Ringaskiddy.
Footpaths are to be widened in the village to reduce vehicle speed, new pedestrian crossings will be created, and provision is being made for the future creation of a cycleway/walkway from there to Haulbowline Island.
Mr McGrath welcomed the proposals, but described it as “absolutely scandalous” that there had not been a pedestrian crossing in Ringaskiddy village up to now, especially as a main road runs through it.