€100,000 in walking and cycling funding spent on re-design of Cork junction falls far short of best practice

— Flaws in Curragh Road project despite it running parallel and close to South Link Road dual carriageway.

€100,000 has been spent on designing the Curragh Road Junction Upgrade in Cork which includes retaining sub-standard width footpaths and non-segregated painted cycle lanes.

The project is a growing number of examples of national walking and cycling funding being allocated to sub-standard projects which are unlikely to reduce car use. It includes significant greening of existing wide sections of road space, but despite the available space, it falls far short of best practice for walking and cycling.

The €100,000 design funding is part of the €240m funding allocated to councils for walking and cycling infrastructure in February. At the time this website reported how there was no new quality control linked to the funding.

Back in February when the funding allocation was announced, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said “Today’s allocation increase marks a huge step forward in providing green sustainable mobility options to our cities, suburbs and hinterlands.”

He added: “The projects that the NTA are funding will make a real difference to commuters and leisure seekers alike. Improving infrastructure for cycling and walking will make our cities, towns and villages more accessible and attractive for everyone. That’s good news for communities, and good news for the economy.”

The project includes junction of Curragh Road, Pearse Road and Kinsale Road. The design also includes blocking pedestrian desire lines, a shared path that would lead pedestrians into the roadway, and a cycle lane between two traffic lanes which campaigners call “murder strips”.

The planned new design has the non-segregated painted cycle lanes interrupted by a relocated bus stop in one direction and in the other direction runs toward car parking with no protected transition into the carriageway.

Curragh Road funding said it was for to “progress prelim design, planning and design team appointment”.

Cork City Council said: “The project will deliver upgraded cycling facilities along Curragh Road, Pearse Road and Kinsale Road.”

On its website, the council claimed: “The proposed scheme will offer the following benefits: Provide facilities that will encourage commuters and residents to use sustainable modes of transport, as lack of existing facilities results in more car based trips for short journeys; New footpaths and improved crossing facilities will allow vulnerable road users access to local amenities; and The scheme will reduce road safety risks at this location.”

The public consultation for the project ended last month.

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

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