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NTA’s 2040 vision for commuters in Cork: 50% in cars, just 4% on bicycles

— Plan for up to 2040 sees walking’s share of trips static at 21%.
— Reaction includes: it’s a “sick joke”, “pathetic”, “crazily unambitious”.

An outline of Cork’s transport future in the National Transport Authority’s €3.5bn Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy has been heavily criticised by cycling campaigners and members of the public.

IMAGE: The NTA’s future visions of Washington Street in Cork and as it is now from Street View — visions where space will be taken from cycling rather than cars.

The Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy, which was developed by the authority with the local councils, has the modal share for walking in the city’s metropolitan area remain static at 21% and the cycling modal share only increase from 1% to 4%.

It is unclear why the NTA used a 2011 baseline figure which is nearly 10 years out of date. The final strategy, often referred to as CMATS, was published on the NTA’s website yesterday.

While Cork City data is not directly comparable to the metro area, Cencus data shows that cycling in Cork City jumped by from 2.1% in 2006 to 2.76% in 2011 and then to 3.7% in 2016. In this time there has been little intervention and Cork — like other Irish cities — still does not have a single continuous segregated cycle route from its suburbs to city centre.

As reported last year, the Demand Analysis Report written by the National Transport Authority as supporting documents for the draft strategy, had a “Idealised scenario” for Cork where an “unconstrainted public transport network” would lower the cycling modal share even further. The report also notes that the Idealised scenario “commute car mode share does not meet the Smarter Travel target of 45%” — the NTA’s plan for car modal share is now 49.3%.

The plan in Cork is in start contrast to cities which have invested in giving funding and space for cycle networks. For example, in the Spanish city of Sevilla, it took just five years after the start of construction of its rough and quick-build cycle network that cycling modal share went from “negligible” or “under 0.5%” to 5.6% of bicycle trips in 2011. Sevilla council officials have said they followed Dutch practice of having continuous routes linked into a network, and not stop-start routes which are common in Ireland.

Another example is Ghent in Belgium where a Traffic Circulation Plan was introduced in April 2017, and shifted car space in its city centre to sustainable transport. Data for Ghent showed in 2012 there was 22% cycling cycling modal share and the city had a target of 35% for 2030. But the traffic circulation plan accelerated modal change and the 2030 target was reached by 2019.

Responding to the release of the plan, the Cork Cycling Campaign said on Twitter: “Jeepers. Half the population will still be commuting by private car and only 4% of us will be commuting by bike? In 20 years time? Really?”


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IMAGE: Progression of Seville’s cycle network.


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  1. Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Kilkenny, Waterford, Drogheda, Ennis, Newbridge… an endless list of Irish towns and cities which can’t get decent cycling infrastrcture. In my town (west Kildare) we have 200m of segregated cycle path, when the entire town center could easily get parking protected lanes. Why can’t we just build decent cycle infra, and help solve the climate and obesity crisises in one go! Utter nonsense from City/County Councils and the whole Department for Transport.


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