Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


MIRACLES Report Summary

Project ID: 11953
Funded under: FP5-GROWTH
Country: Ireland

Implementation and expansion of a city centre pedestrian priority/clean zone with access restrictions regulated through the use of automatic rising bollards

This measure improved the city centre shopping environment for pedestrians and cyclists in some tangible ways:
- By vastly increasing pavement widths and pedestrian crossings on the 2 principle city centre shopping streets: St. Patrick's Street and Oliver Plunkett Street.
- By restricting access to all sides streets south of St. Patrick's Street leading into Oliver Plunkett Street between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- By providing attractive new cycle stands, railings for people to lean on and large seating areas
- By restricting the number of car lanes on the street and re-routing traffic away from the city centre.

This made the city centre seem more attractive for shopping. According to a cleanzone survey conducted in May 2005 65% of respondents thought that the city was more accessible, only 5% thought that it was less accessible. 48% came by car but 9% cycled- a very impressive % given that ordinarily less that 2% commute by bike. This was reinforced by traffic count data which demonstrated a 117% increase in cycling near St. Patrick's Street.

This should imply that more people are shopping in the city centre which will bring economic benefits. The evident encouragement to walk or cycle through the city centre should also reap socio-health benefits encouraging people to exercise in a more stress free environment. There should also be some environmental benefits accruing from the reduced car traffic.

The precise environment impacts are quantified in the Evaluation Templates.
Unfortunately Noise levels actually increased by 1 Logarithmic A-equivalent dBA from the baseline in 2002 to 2005 and dissatisfaction with noise increased from 54 to 56% over this time; however, this may have been attributable to ongoing works on Oliver Plunkett Street. Over 60% of survey respondents thought that the visual appearance of the street was much better which should have positive spin-offs for tourism as well as community morale. Already the streetscape has facilitated many cultural events- including Streetfilms for the filmfestival, a live rock-band performance for Car Free Day 2004 and many more cultural events for Cork s reign as Capital of Culture.

Key innovative features of the measure:
-Reduction of street clutter using aesthetically attractive co-ordinated functional street-furniture like stylish chrome cycle stands, handrails and marble seating.
-Hand rails were particularly useful as the mobility-impaired often rely on street furniture to lean on. Hand rails and seats overcome this in a stylish unobtrusive way.
-They also help to delineate paving which has no kerbs- to better facilitate wheelchairs and buggies.
-Access Restriction Bollards were customized for the project. To cater for the rising saltwater table under our flood-prone city centre streets the bollards had to be stainless steel and their subterranean enclosure had to be watertight.
-The flashing warning lights and siren are also innovative in the local context and considered critical to adequately warn encroaching motorists.

The critical success factors pertaining to this measure are:
- Wide-ranging stakeholder consultation during and after the design research/ planning phases and post-implementation. Stakeholders to be consulted should include street-traders, advocates for the Blind or wheelchair users, cycling campaign groups, bus companies and taxi representatives
- Third party help with consultation and evaluation can help to mediate/avoid potential conflicts over controversial proposals.
- All elements of street furniture should be considered from multiple different user perspectives e.g. How will blind people with guide-dogs interact with diagonally leaning lamp-posts? How will motorists try to drive around bollards?
- All service utility providers of electricity phone-lines/gas pipes, sewers etc. should be asked to carry out checks and maintenance works before a major street design project to minimize further disruption to the newly laid street.
- Paving can be laid out in a modular way that allows easy access to underground pipes and cables. (Utility providers should be asked to pre-empt maintenance during the streetworks)
- Providing electrical sockets for seasonal lighting or recreational street events like films shows/concerts
- Allowing adequate width in places for cultural spectacles
- Good integration with public transport and provisions for cyclists i.e.:
--Making bus shelters bigger, more sheltered, more comfortable to wait in, with well maintained/updated bus timetables.
--Ensuring adequate space for buses to pull-in and pull-out safely.
- Parking enforcers must be particularly vigilant to ensure that bus stops are not encroached upon by loading vehicles or taxis.
- Those responsible for bus services could respond proactively by researching the viability of introducing more frequent services to bring more people into the city centre (Cork introduced a new Park and Ride Service).

Reported by

Traffic Division, Roads and Transportation Directorate Cork City Council
Address Albert Quay House, Albert Quay, Cork City.
N/A Cork
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