Cork works up masterplan for active travel to create first 20-minute neighbourhood

Nearly €6m is to be spent to build a 5.5km network of bike lanes and pedestrian walkways to create Cork’s first 20-minute neighbourhood in Mahon.

It is hoped the network will encourage people to ditch the car in favour of cycling and walking in an area that is home to three schools, a massive shopping centre, several large employers in various business parks, a private hospital, and the CSO headquarters.

While previous active travel projects in the city have focused on getting people from A to B, Cork City Council’s Mahon cycle scheme sets out plans to build a network of safe, protected, and continuous active travel routes to connect thousands of residents to local shops, neighbourhood services, schools, playgrounds, and sports fields, reports the Irish Examiner.

It will involve the construction of a network of segregated safe cycle paths, bike lanes, and footpaths on several roads, with major changes earmarked for an area bounded on the south by Skehard Rd, and looped by Ringmahon Rd, and Avenue de Rennes. 

While a detailed design has yet to be done, the advertised proposal sets out plans for:

  • A two-way cycle path along most of Skehard Rd towards its eastern junction with Ringmahon Rd;
  • Cycle paths along both sides of Ringmahon Rd, from its western junction with Skehard Rd, looping north and then east towards the estuary to where it meets the eastern end of Skehard Rd;
  • Cycle paths on both sides of Ringmahon Rd passing Ringmahon Rangers, Ballinure and St Michael’s GAA pitches to its eastern junction with Skehard Rd;
  • Cycle paths on both sides of Ballinure Ave, from its junction with Skehard Rd to Estuary Drive next to Mahon Point Shopping Centre;
  • Major improvements along Avenue de Rennes, running north-south between Skehard Rd and Ringmahon Rd, with a two-way bike lane running past Nagle Community School and Mahon gaelscoil;
  • Upgrades and shared-space connectivity running east off Avenue de Rennes to Ringmahon Rd and west to Sean Cronin Park and the Blackrock greenway;
  • Extensive junction improvements along Castle Road from the Blackrock Castle car park, past the Cork camogie and Mahon rugby grounds to Ringmahon Rd.

The scheme includes new bike parking facilities, crossings, pavement, lighting and landscaping. It will involve the removal of some trees but extensive replanting is planned.

The network also features links to the Blackrock and Passage West greenway, where work on a major upgrade is ongoing, and to existing cycling infrastructure on the Skehard Road and the Marina, that will provide onward connectivity to other parts of the city.

Maps showing the areas targeted for improvements under the proposed Mahon cycling scheme.

Sheelagh Guilmartin, a senior executive engineer in the city council’s infrastructure development department, said: “This will be the first neighbourhood cycle scheme in the city. The design proposal comes from the 2017 Cork Cycle Network Plan and will be, in effect, a pilot project.”

Ms Guilmartin said the feedback from the public consultation would be considered before the final detailed design work on the scheme gets underway.


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