— Healthcare workers: Watering down plan would be “lost opportunity to create a healthier community”.
Most of Cork City councillors in the city’s South-West area are seeking to remove a proposed protected cycle lane in front of a school in plans for the Curraheen Road because of lobbying from businesses on the road.
The Cork Cycling Campaign told this website last year that the project could be improved, but needed support first. The opposition from businesses on the street is understood to be the main issue for most of the local area councillor .
IrishCycle.com has made attempts to contact all the councillors — Cllr Garret Kelleher (Fine Gael), Cllr Fergal Dennehy (Fianna Fáil), Cllr Colm Kelleher (Fianna Fáil), Cllr Thomas Moloney (independent), Cllr Eolan Ryng (Sinn Féin), Cllr Derry Canty (Fine Gael), and Cllr Colette Finn (Green) — yesterday and this morning, but only one replied before the publication of this article.
Replying to a request for comment on the removal of the protected cycle lane outside the school, Cllr Fergal Dennehy (Fianna Fáil) said: “We are still looking at that proposal with a view to finding a solution which will work for all members of the community.”
Cllr Colette Finn (Green Party) said: “Thanks to the healthcare professionals coming out in support of this project. We need to have consistency in our political thinking. Parties that vote for action on healthy cities, cannot vote this project down. Half a cycle lane is not good enough.”
It is understood that Cllr Finn is proposing a motion on Monday city-wide council meeting that the council should vote on the original plans that were in public consultation, without removing the section on front of the school.
James Long, a member of the Cork Cycling Campaign, said: “Cork City Council councillors are proposing to remove the section of cycle lanes to the school gates on Curraheen Road and linked to the Melbourn rd cycle lane. This is not the original plan that people put time and effort into making submissions on in public consultation.”
“An alternative route proposed by councillors is via Rossa Ave and Allendale/Foxford Ave to Melbourn Road — Rossa Ave is a narrow <1.5m , unprotected, contra-flow cycle lane with a double decker bus coming towards you. This is not a safe viable alternative route for families to cycle,” he said.
Long added: “If the amended plan gets approved it will lead to the same disconnected, incoherent cycle lanes which disappear just when you need them the most, that we see all across this city. If you support the original plan please email, text, phone your councillor to let them know.”
A statement from a group from Cork healthcare professionals called on councillors to proceed with a protected cycle lane in front of the school.
It was signed by Oisin O’Connell (Respiratory Consultant), Lisa Kiely (Dermatology SPR), Cathal O’Connor, (Dermatology SPR), Ann Murray (Paediatric SPR), Conal Houstoun (Haematology SPR), Aisling Farrell (GP SHO), Elaine Cunningham (Palliative Care Registrar), Sophie Gregg (Palliative Care Registrar), Eileen Duff (Gastroenterology Dietician), and Bill Olden.
In the statement, the group said: “As health care professionals, we were encouraged to see Cork City Council publish plans recently for cycleways in Curraheen. These plans have the potential to unlock significant health benefits for people living locally by enabling them to travel by bicycle for short or local trips. We were particularly encouraged to see that the plans would make cycling to school and college a more realistic option for children and students.”
They added: “We are calling on Cork City Council Councillors to approve the plans as originally designed and ensure that there is a joined-up cycle network in Curraheen. Any deviation of the plans, particularly those which favour on-street parking ahead of protected cycle lanes, are likely to make the attractiveness and safety of the entire scheme less appealing. This may have negative public health outcomes and will be a lost opportunity to create a healthier community.'”