Private interests trump public benefits on the Patrick Street car ban

This piece first appeared in the Evening Echo here

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CORK'S transport problems will continue to worsen as the city grows, according to a UCC economist, who said that the reversal of the Patrick Street car ban is another example of private interests trumping public interest in Cork.

Cork city council voted on Friday to unanimously to pause the Patrick Street ban on private cars, with immediate effect, until August 9.

This is to allow for further consultation with the business community and to facilitate a comprehensive promotional campaign around the city centre.

UCC economist Dr Frank Crowley, a vocal supporter of the ban, criticised the Cork Business Association (CAB), saying: "The CBA appeared to have no interest in giving it a chance to work. They certainly were not interested in waiting for the evidence, which they should have waited for.

“This is just another example in Cork of private interests trumping public interest.”

“Why is public transport terrible in Cork?

“Because they share the road with cars that are using up all the space and congesting access,” he explained.

“Improving public transport means deprioritising the car and disturbing the car user.

“There is no way around that problem and that is where the tension lies.

“Traders and car-dependent users at the present time are not willing to allow that to happen and the poor public transport problem will grow as the city grows.”

Meanwhile, Bus Eireann have described the decision as disappointing.

“While it is disappointing that the bus priority measure on St Patrick’s Street, introduced as part of the Cork City Centre Movement strategy, is being postponed Bus Eireann will continue to work with all stakeholders to examine other opportunities that would see a positive impact on bus Journey times,” said a spokesperson.