Saturday 16 February 2019

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Douglas ‘would benefit’ from city bikes

Wednesday, 6th February, 2019 4:48pm

A county councillor recently called for Douglas to be included in the expansion of Coca-Cola Zero bike share scheme, echoing earlier appeals by Sinn Féin Cllr Eoghan Jeffers and Labour's Local Area Representative Peter Horgan.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has confirmed plans to expand the popular scheme. However it is not expected to reach areas west of the Wilton Road corridor or south of the M40 South Ring Road, meaning that Douglas would be excluded alongside the CIT campus and Ballincollig.

As Douglas is set to become part of the city under the boundary extension, it would be an ideal opportunity for improved infrastructure in the area.

Such views are shared by local Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Rose Desmond. Cllr Desmond outlined the benefits the scheme would have for the area.

“Douglas is an area that I believe would benefit from an extension of the existing Coca-Cola Zero bike share scheme. We have a village that is completely grid locked with traffic and a large population that is hungry for effective alternative transport. In fact, links to this scheme from the city to Douglas village, Blackrock village and Rochestown in association with current greenways would be very welcome.”

However there is still hope that Douglas could receive a rental bike station as Cllr Desmond has received a positive response from the NTA.

“This is a matter that I first raised to Council and in turn the NTA over three years ago. The most recent response from the NTA in January of this year, in contrast to previous replies, was particularly encouraging. They have committed the capital funding needed for the provision of extra bikes and new stations, funding for the ongoing operating costs remains an obstacle. The NTA have suggested that these costs would need to be funded from local council funds.”

Cllr Desmond suggested funding is a matter for the Goverment. “I firmly believe that full funding of schemes like this from central Government is good value for money. If Government agencies are serious about providing alternative transport opportunities both for commuters and as community amenities they should be providing the full funding required. The recent correspondence from the NTA is welcome and as the area concerned is moving in to the city, I will be pursuing this matter with City Council officials seeking a feasibility study to be undertaken in order to see how we progress this project. I have also asked that County Council make contact with City Hall.”

The NTA is expected to publish the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Plan for public consultation early this year.

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