Cork City has announced that it will host its Car Free Day on Saturday, September 23 from 12 midday until 6.30pm — a number of streets will be opened up to walking and cycling, while cars will be diverted around the area.
Cork City Council said that quays will be “open to traffic as normal” and the opening of streets to non-car users will include North Main Street, Cornmarket Street, Castle Street and Adelaide Street from 12 noon to 6.30pm.
With Patrick Street it is also being implied by the council that the bus gate will be enforced.
Lord Mayor, Cllr Kieran McCarthy said: “This is a great opportunity for people to come into town and shop, maybe get a bite to eat or just walk around the city centre and enjoy the calm atmosphere. I am delighted that this event is taking place as part of European SDG week.”
He added: “We have seen from our recently published climate report that 29% of the emissions in Cork City are from cars. This is a small step in encouraging people to get out of the car and try a cleaner mode of transport.”
Conor Healy CEO of Cork Chamber commented: “Decarbonising our transport offers a huge opportunity to reduce our emissions and to help reach our 2030 climate targets. Car Free Day is a great incentive to trial switching transport modes, whether it’s public transport, the Park’n’Ride, TFI bikes or walking. Reductions in traffic also create a more pleasant street atmosphere for those visiting, shopping and enjoying the cultural offering of our wonderful city.”
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Kevin O’Herlihy, President of Cork Business Association said: “Car Free day is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the fact that things are changing at a rapid pace in Cork City. We at the The Cork Business Association are advocates of the 15 minute model where people will be able to live, work and socialise within 15 minutes of the city centre.”
He added: “The future of transport will be walking, cycling and using public transport such as buses and in time, the light rail system. This Saturday, we would encourage all patrons of Cork City to leave the car at home and travel to the city using these modes of transport.”
Darren McAdam O’Connell from Cork Transport & Mobility Forum said: “Great to see Cork joining so many Cities around Europe and the world in giving the street back to the people for a day. Streets were always social spaces for the people of the city to enjoy, to meet and greet their neighbours, until so much space was given over to traffic.
He added: “I look forward to seeing my friends and neighbours out enjoying all the activities for the day in peace and quiet with space to stroll once again.”
The Cork Cycling Campaign also welcomed the move.
The campaign said: “It’s happening! After years of calling for a local Car-Free Day, we’re so pleased that Car-Free Day is going ahead in Cork this Saturday. To celebrate and add to the fun, we are organising BikeBuses to Cork City from six suburbs around the city. We would be so happy to have you and your family come along for the ride.”
The Cork Cycling Campaign added: “We’re also encouraging everyone who cares about sustainability to talk up Car-Free Day with friends and to share it on social media. A successful day will help others imagine what a sustainable city could look like. See you in town this Saturday!”
CORRECTION: Based on information by Cork City Council this article originally reported that it will be Cork’s first car-free day with streets will be closed. This is not correct, as outlined here.