Double yellow lines, car parking and junction markings have been added to two new street redesign projects in Cork but cycling markings have not even, in one case, after months. This issue is part of a web of problems with the projects, including illegal parking all over new cycle lanes and footpaths, and the lack of any protection for the cycle lanes the project leading to motorists whizzing into the cycle lane at speed.
The two separate projects are parallel to the N20 just before it crosses the River Lee.
One of the projects is the Knapp’s Square and Lower John’s Street Area Pedestrian and Cycle Measures project. Last year, IrishCycle.com reported how campaigners called for the project to be improved but questions still remain if what was even planned will be delivered.
Right now, it looks like a resurfacing project more than a pedestrian and cycling scheme.
Cycling campaigners have grown increasingly frustrated with Cork City Council’s actions, inactions and refusal to engage with them to the point of taking the highly unusual step of saying “It’s hard to imagine it’s anything other than dereliction of duty by the City Council”.
“Lower John Street is a particular site of frustration,” said Louise O’Donnell, vice-chairperson of the Cork Cycling Campaign.
She said: “We have these beautiful plans on paper which would transform the commute for many. The Northside has a scarcity of cycle infrastructure. So, when we see double yellow lines and junction markings arriving in a timely fashion but the cycle lane is still unmarked, it’s hard to imagine it’s anything other than dereliction of duty by the City Council”.
IrishCycle.com last week asked Cork City Council a series of questions on the project — including why the planned bicycle logos were not pained at the same time as the other road markings and if it is possible that what’s contained on some of the drawings would not even fit on the streets in question.
But, even after delaying the publication of this article and waiting on a promised response yesterday, the council did not reply to these questions ahead of the publication of this article.
The Cork Cycling Campaign also expressed its annoyance with elements of the MacCurtain Street Public Transport Improvement Scheme which also includes public realm and cycling elements.
A yet-to-be-finished section of the project on Leitrim Street, which is part of the MacCurtain Street project, has been compared to a dual carriageway slip lane. The street has also seen wide-scale illegal parking on new footpaths and cycle lanes.
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Much of the mostly finished-looking street redesign has been in place for around three months now.
Sinéad Halpin, another spokesperson for and events manager with the Cork Cycling Campaign, said: “The Campaign has engaged enthusiastically with all the stages of planning and delivery of the MacCurtain Street Improvement Project. Which makes it all the more disheartening that pedestrians and cyclists are consistently at the bottom of the priority list. The failure to deliver even the weakest form of infrastructure — some painted symbols on the road — is proof that we are merely an afterthought.”
“Time after time, we’ve talked about the need to deliver Safe Infrastructure first to encourage real modal shift. The council are happy to avail of Active Travel Infrastructure funds to upgrade roads only to add the pedestrian and cycle facilities to a ‘snag list’ that appears to never be fulfilled,” she said.
Halpin said: “Resurfacing of the Christy Ring Bridge, enforcement of illegal parking around Leitrim Street and compliance with the traffic signal manual are all issues we’ve raised in recent months with Cork City Council staff.”
She added: “We engage with the consultation process in good faith with the assumption that the finished product is delivered as per these planning documents. This appears not to be the case in Maccurtain Street or other recent infrastructure projects. The campaign will continue to engage with Cork City Council and other relevant bodies in the hopes that this is remedied with urgency.”
Commenting on Leitrim Street, Cork City Council provided the following statement: “The MacCurtain Street Public Transport Improvement Scheme is still at construction stage. The inbound cycle lane on Leitrim Street is still under construction. High Friction Surfacing Material will be laid once pavement and weather conditions are suitable.”
The council’s spokesperson added: “Signage and lining need to be installed and snagged prior to opening the cycle lane. This will be carried out as works progress.”
While Cork City Council has not responded to the set of questions first sent seven days ago, IrishCycle.com will be happy to add its comments to this article when or if it receives a reply from the council.