Main Street Overhaul & Cycle Link Approved for Carrigaline
Councillors in Cork County Council have agreed to support the Chief Executive's recommendations for the Part 8 proposal, which will see an overhaul of Main Street, Carrigaline and the creation of a cycleway through Bridgemount and Herons Wood estate.
The proposals for Carrigaline TPREP (Transport & Public Realm Enhancement Plan), were passed by county councillors at a full Council meeting in County Hall on Monday afternoon following a long period of public consultation. The process for the new plans which will see the introduction of public realm enhancement measures for Main Street, and the development of a new cycleway, first began in February 2021 with the opening round of public engagement.
The redesign of Carrigaline Main Street in particular is thought to be a once in a generation opportunity to help improve the heart of the town by reducing the volume of vehicular movement through the town and encouraging more pedestrian and cyclist focused measures. The plans were always targeted to coincide with the opening of the Carrigaline Western Relief Road, with Councillors making it clear during the process that it was important for the measures to be enacted in close alignment with the opening of the new road – which is expected by next week.
Details of the plan include; the creation of a bus lane moving southbound from the Heron Roundabout all the way down Main Street to the Bank of Ireland Corner, wider footpaths in the town centre to provide shared spaces for pedestrians and cyclists, the installation of public benches throughout the village, a new bus shelter for ‘The Bridge’ and a new junction in place of the existing Heron Roundabout. The Active Travel link seeks to extend the Greenway, linking Crosshaven with Passage West, while also aiming to promote methods of sustainable travel, particularly for young people moving to and from school.
From a traffic and transport management perspective, it is thought that with the opening of the Inner Western Relief Road, there was scope to remove the amount of cars travelling through Main Street, with the aim of reducing the level of congestion considerably. While there will only be a dedicated cycle path coming southbound, cyclists will be encouraged to use the bus lane when moving in the other direction.
The Manager’s Report stated that, “the proposed public realm enhancements to Carrigaline town centre, together with the proposed new traffic management arrangements will assist in rejuvenating the town, alleviate traffic congestion, improve bus priority and promote a shift in commuting to more sustainable forms of transportation. This scheme also aims to provide high-quality safe connectivity between places of employment, schools, sporting facilities, local amenities and residential areas in Carrigaline, and to provide a recreational amenity for pedestrians and cyclists.”
Approximately 200 submissions were received by the Council in relation to the proposals. The key concerns raised in the submissions included; devaluation of properties, anti-social behaviour, traffic management issues, loss of green spaces and town centre accessibility. A considerable number of submissions were made in opposition to the proposed Active Travel Link in Bridgemount and Heron’s Wood, with a residents’ committee established to oppose the plans gaining strong support from within their respective estates. The main focus of their opposition to the proposals was that an alternative route for a cycleway along Fernhill Road would be more favourable.
The Manager’s Report however does not reflect a move away from the original plans proposed and the fundamental elements of both the Active Travel Link and changes to Main Street Carrigaline will go ahead. In relation to the link through Bridgemount and Heron’s Wood, the Report states that the location for such has been selected “as it is centrally located within Carrigaline, connects well with the proposed future primary and secondary active travel routes, has a higher population density, has less impact on both biodiversity and land take and has a lesser impact on the environment”.
Alternative routes were shown to require acquisition of peoples homes and gardens, and costing millions more than the selected route - which does not require property acquisition.
The Manager’s Report, in light of submissions received during public consultation highlights a number of slight modifications to the proposals as a response to local feedback. Some of these changes relate to security and safety measures, including the provision of infrastructure to support future installation of CCTV.
The Report, in recommending that proposals should be adopted, stated that “this scheme will provide priority to sustainable modes of transport within the town centre and also greatly enhance the public realm. The proposed scheme will provide a safe environment for walking and cycling, improved accessibility and permeability and a valuable facility of residents, school children, commuters and leisure enthusiasts.”