Sustainable Transport Corridors a key element of the BusConnects Cork programme
Updated proposals for eleven sustainable transport corridors as part of the BusConnects Cork programme have been published today by the National Transport Authority (NTA) for a third round of public consultation.
The latest round of public consultation on the Sustainable Transport Corridors centres on the updated Preferred Route Options for all eleven corridors. This comes following two rounds of public consultation between June and October 2022 and between March and May 2023.
BusConnects Cork is a €600m programme of work that aims to transform the city’s bus system, making public transport more accessible to more people. By delivering approximately 91kms of new bus lanes and bus priority and 98km of cycle facilities (one direction) delivering 49km of the cycle network, BusConnects Cork will make travel by bus, as well as active travel, a more attractive option while also reducing carbon emissions and congestion.
Approximately 4,400 submissions were made by the public during the second round of consultation and the NTA undertook approximately 30 meetings with residents, business and special interest groups over the past summer.
Following the second round of public consultation, the NTA has been making refinements along each corridor to take into consideration both the submissions received by the public and ongoing local community engagement. In addition, there has been further technical design work and urban realm improvements along each corridor.
This extensive two-way engagement has informed the design process and several changes have been made to the proposals. Among the changes are:
- STC A – Dunkettle to City: New bus-rail interchange added, with bus, pedestrian and cycle access provided from Alfred Street.
- STC B – Mayfield to City: Proposed cycle tracks on Colmcille Avenue have been removed and replaced by a quiet street cycle route on nearby streets.
- STC C – Blackpool to City: Proposed bus gate on Dublin Street at Spring Lane is no longer included and has been replaced by signal priority measures to restrict non-local traffic movements, while allowing all local access to be made.
- STC D – Hollyhill to City: Inbound bus gate moved from Wolfe Tone Street to Shandon Street to improve local access and improve bus priority approaching the bus gate.
- STC E – Ballincollig to City: In Ballincollig town centre, a dedicated left turn lane for eastbound traffic has been added in advance of Old Fort Road (west) junction. A right turn pocket for westbound traffic has also been added to minimise queuing along Main Street for cars wishing to turn into Tesco and Castle West shopping centre car park.
- STC F – Bishopstown to City: Omission of inbound bus lane and short section of outbound bus lane on Curraheen Road.
- STC G – Togher to City: The bus gate previously proposed on Clarke’s Bridge is no longer proposed.
- STC H – Airport Road to City: On Evergreen Road, two-way cycle track to move from the northern side of the road to the southern side of the road.
- STC I – Maryborough Hill to City: The bus gate at the Well Road junction has been relocated to the west of the Rosebank junction. Between the bus gates on the Douglas Road the existing road arrangement is to remain. A 30km/h speed limit is to be introduced.
- STC J – Mahon to City: Additional parking spaces proposed at Churchyard Lane and Boreenmanna Road junction as well as Ballinlough Road.
- STC K – Kinsale Road to Douglas: Eastbound and westbound bus lanes along Grange Road are re-arranged to improve road safety, minimise impacts to private land take, existing trees and boundary walls.
Since the first public consultation in June 2022, there has been an approximate 48% reduction in the number of properties that may be impacted by the proposed development of the Sustainable Transport Corridors as well as nearly 43% reduction in the number of on-street parking spaces that may be removed and approximately 37% reduction in the number of roadside trees that may be removed.
Consultation on the updated proposals begins today and runs until Monday, 18 December 2023. A series of public information events will be hosted across Cork city during November. Dates, times and venues are available at www.busconnects.ie/cork. Leaflets will also be delivered to almost one hundred thousand addresses in Cork in the coming days with information about the consultation.
All submissions in the third round of public consultation will be reviewed by the NTA. Following this, the NTA will finalise the Preferred Route Options for all eleven corridors. The scheme designs will be further developed and statutory consent applications to An Bord Pleanála will be prepared, inclusive of transport and environmental impact assessments. At this stage, as part of the formal planning application to ABP, there will be a statutory public consultation process also.
Anne Graham, CEO of the NTA, said: “Since the launch of the second round of consultation, we’ve engaged extensively with community and business groups across the city and sought to respond constructively to the issues raised. The updated proposals we’re putting forward in collaboration with Cork City Council have helped to mitigate many of the issues raised by community and business groups.
“Cork is a growing city and needs a bus network that works for a rapidly transforming city. As key part of the BusConnects Cork programme, the development of the Sustainable Transport Corridors will help future proof Cork’s bus system and create safe cycling across the city as it continues to grow.
“I would invite the people of Cork to share their feedback on the updated proposals for the eleven corridors. Your views and input will help to shape the final proposals which will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála from next year.”
Ann Doherty, Chief Executive of Cork City Council said: “The delivery of the planned programme of improvements under Bus Connects is critical to the ongoing development of Cork City. The improved bus frequencies, journey time reliability and other measures will transform the ease with which people will be able to access and move across our city into the future.
“The planned investment in Cork’s public transport offering is also critical to the delivery on decarbonisation and the achievement of our Mission City climate neutrality targets over the period to 2030.”