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Cork City continues to mix walking and cycling even after CEO complains of conflict between two

— Cork Cycling Campaign said planned project will increase conflict by design.
— Group asks people to make submissions, even “a simple line”, by January 10.

Cork City Council is continuing to mix walking and cycling in planned new projects despite the council’s CEO complaining to cycling campaigners about walking and cycling conflicts.

When campaigners Sam McCormack and Majo Rivas last month had a meeting with Cork City Council, CEO Ann Doherty started the meeting by reading out an email from a resident giving out about cyclists on footpaths. But, despite this, Doherty’s council officials continues to mix walking and cycling.

In October the official social media account of the Lee Flood Relief Scheme doubled down on defending the current plans which includes removing cycle lanes and segregated cycle paths and replacing them with shared use footpaths. Now Cork City Council is claiming planned shared use footpaths in the Togher suburb of Cork is “mixed facility” which “will be provided connecting the existing Togher Greenway to the existing shared route alongside the two schools”.

IMAGE: The existing Togher Road.

Cork City Council said that that scheme Togher Road project “improvement of pedestrian facilities by widening footpaths throughout to a minimum width of 2m”, but much of the widened paths are actually shared between walking and cycling.

The council also said that the project is aimed at “Addressing the congestion issues apparent along the route, both through re-design of the Togher Cross roundabout and addressing the informal on-street parking and set-down regime.”

Cork Cycling Campaign, however, has said that, while there are welcomed aspects of the scheme, that the choice of shared paths means there will be a reduced quality of service for both pedestrians and people cycling.

Cork Cycling Campaign said: “While the Campaign welcomes the allocation of investment for this area and recognizes some positive aspects in the scheme (wider footpaths, raised table crossings, opportunities for green strips), overall the Campaign has strong reservations about the approach adopted by the Council and therefore calls on its members, supporters, pedestrians, motorists, and other interested parties to object to the scheme. We ask city councillors to reject the scheme in its current form.”

On its website, the campaign said: “There is no dedicated cycle infrastructure in this scheme. ‘Shared paths’ feature in some instances but these offer a reduced Quality of Service for both pedestrians and people cycling and need to be avoided as far as practicable. We already have multiple places in the city where people walking and people cycling come into conflict. This scheme would greatly increase such conflict in Togher. This is undesirable for people walking and for people cycling.”

Cork Cycling Campaign also said that the project “does nothing to address the primacy of the car as the main mode of transport in Cork City and does not seek to make walking or cycling more attractive options”.

It claimed that the design is a “clear breach of the advice and recommendations contained in the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets and the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy” and that design as planned “also condemns Togher to excessive and avoidable congestion for the indefinite future”.

The Cork Cycling Campaign said it wants the council to redraft the plans to create a “showcase solution” for safe and attractive active in line with best practice and the aspirations of the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy.

It added: “The Campaign is calling on people to submit an observation to Cork City Council before the closing date of Friday 10th January 2020. Your observation does not need to be technical or follow any format. Please state your concerns and opinions in the way you feel most comfortable. Even a simple line will do if you state your viewpoint clearly! Once you have submitted an observation, please send a copy to your local Cork City Council Councillor so they are aware of your concerns. Alternatively, please speak to or email your councillor about the issue.”

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Cian Ginty

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