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Transport Strategy Plans For Overhaul Of Carrigaline Streets

Transport Strategy Plans For Overhaul Of Carrigaline Streets

Writes Ciaran Dineen

Nearly two years on since Cork County Council revealed its intention to engage in a tendering process to develop the Carrigaline Transportation and Public Realm Strategy (TPREP), the first draft of the proposal has today (Monday) been released, with some fundamental changes envisaged for the future of Carrigaline.

The Carrigaline TPREP aims to ensure that there is an integrated approach to transport planning and public realm enhancement, seeking to address issues that continue to dominate the town and hold it back from sustainable and economic development.

The draft strategy is unequivocal in its findings, noting that Carrigaline is a car-dominated town which has created an “environment where potential footfall in the town centre is not realising its full potential”.

The proposal, as a result, looks to focus on delivering change particularly through the Main Street, so that it can realise its potential to become a well-balanced town “accommodating all modes of transport.” It recommends traffic management measures to help alleviate the amount of traffic and congestion on the Main Street by providing alternative routes around the town, with further provision for the enhancement of sustainable mobility, creating better access to the town centre for pedestrians and cyclists.

Some of the key changes include; the introduction of a 30kph speed limit along the core of the town centre and its main approaches, the extension of cycling routes that connect Main Street with the Crosshaven and Passage West Greenways, implementation of bus-only lanes in an Active Travel Priority Zone and the introduction of a one-way system along parts of Strand Road and Church Hill.

According to the published report, there were 95 submissions made during the first round of public consultation which took place between February 8th and March 1st this year and all observations were taken into consideration during the development process of the plan. Included in the 95 submissions, were 9 from a list of interest groups including; the Carrigaline My Town, My Plan group, the Carrigaline Community Association, the Transport and Mobility Forum and the Lee to Sea Greenway Committee.

The biggest theme raised during reflections comes as no surprise with Traffic mentioned on 58% of occasions. However, the report says that it was “noteworthy” to see high mentions of Pedestrians (40%), Cycling (39%) and Public Transport (23%) during the course of the consultation. The report also claims that based on the response through the process, “it is apparent that a significant majority of respondents welcome the Carrigaline Transportation and Public Realm Enhancement Plan”.

Furthermore, it was emphasised by the consultants, ARUP, that there seemed to be a major appetite for change amongst the community, highlighting that there was a consistent “call for change” across all submissions, with a recognition that “persisting with the status quo is not sustainable”.

Based on the type of language and themes addressed in the first round of public consultation, it would appear that a design strategy has been put forward which reflects a good representation of the desires of participants.

The Carrigaline TPREP outlines a proposal with three timelines in mind for implementation of transport and public realm strategies, short, medium and long-term. It is evident that the report also reflects aims and objectives of regional and national strategic policy, such as Cork 2050, The Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS) and Ireland 2040.

Short-Term Plans

Within a timeframe estimated between 2021-2026, proposals focus on the “upgrade to Main Street, building on the delivery of the Inner Western Relief Road, enhancements to the pedestrian and cycle networks centred around the new school campus on Ballinrea Road along with the extension of the Crosshaven Greenway and other primary pedestrian and cycle routes in as far as Main Street”.

The strategy appears to recognise the ‘fierce urgency of now’ and the need for immediate action to improve traffic management and make Carrigaline a safer and more attractive place for people to be able to walk, cycle and socialise. This will help to “rejuvenate” the town centre, encouraging the use of active and sustainable travel, creating a place that looks to put people before cars.

Traffic will be largely redirected to peripheral orbital routes, most notably the Western Relief Road, reducing volume along Main Street. Access to the Owenabue Carpark from Main Street will be removed, facilitating public realm enhancement in the area. A specific design proposal for the front part of the Owenabue Carpark is being developed by Cork County Council architect, Giulia Vallone, and is expected to be published later this year. Furthermore, a bus only lane southbound from Church Hill will mean that many of those wishing to travel from South Carrigaline to Main Street will have to do so via Crosshaven Road or the Western Relief Road.

On Crosshaven Road, there will be two lanes of traffic up until the entrance to Dunnes Stores, from which a one-way westbound lane will come into effect. This will mean that there will be no access for vehicles from Main Street to the Crosshaven Road.

TPREP notes the necessity of driving behavioural change and that “the quality of the pedestrian environment is an important characteristic which influences residents, commuters, tourists and shoppers in their choice of destination and main mode of travel.” As a result, footpaths will be widened in many sections of the core town centre, and it has been suggested in the report that along Main Street this will result in the doubling of space for pedestrians in certain areas.

In order to allocate as much space to the pedestrian as possible, the report also states that parking and loading can no longer be a core feature of the Main Street. Instead, there will be raised loading bays for morning deliveries, which can then become parking spaces for the afternoon and then be used for outdoor dining in the evening. It goes on to state that in total, approximately 40 parking spaces need to be relocated off Main Street to allow the public realm enhancements”.

Footpaths will also be extended in areas where one-way systems are in operation, such as the Crosshaven Road and Church Hill. Finally, the proposed 30kph speed limit will be introduced all along Main Street and will extend in a zone as far as the likes of Sonas, the Crosshaven Road roundabout and until points of intersection with the Western Relief Road, along Lower Kilmoney Road and Ballea Road, As a result of the reduction in traffic volume and implementation of speed calming measures, the report indicates that this will allow for the provision of cycle lanes along Church Hill and Rose Hill, with further potential to add to this in later timelines.

A notable point made in this report is the recommendation that even if there are delays to the construction and delivery of the Western Relief Road “it is suggested that elements of the traffic management plan such as the proposed Main Street bus lane, changes in access into Crosshaven Road and down along Church Hill should be introduced in an interim basis before the delivery of the entire upgrade to the street.”

The second round of public consultation will allow for further submissions and observations to be made before the final consolidated report. The Carrigdhoun Newspaper will continue to report on all new developments.

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