Councillors made calls for a pilot car free day to take place in 2022.

Car free day encouraged

Piloting a car free day in 2022 is on the cards for Cork city but Leesiders are being encouraged not to use their car next month too as part of World Car Free Day.

A report given to city councillors explained that in the month of September Cork City Council will be supporting and promoting Bike Week from 12-18 and European Mobility Week from 16-22.

The report said that last year Cork City Council assisted in hosting over 150 events for both events and would look to do similar number of events this year providing current Covid-19 restrictions in remain in place.

“Car free day is scheduled for 22 September. Cork City Council will be taking this opportunity to encourage people not to use their car on this day and Cork City Council will also use this day to highlight and promote the changes in the city’s infrastructure to make it easier and safer to travel around the city without the need of a car,” the report said.

In particular there will be promotion on the pedestrianisation of the city centre streets as well as the substantial investment in new cycling lanes and upgrades that have taken place over the last year. Cork City Council said in its report that it will continue to work with the relevant stakeholders to make both Bike Week and European Mobility Week along with Car Free Day a greater success this year. “As this last year has been particularly hard on the businesses in Cork City due to Covid restrictions, Cork City Council is aiming to support the revitalisation of a thriving city centre. With the increase in pedestrianisation and cycling infrastructure over the last 12 months, we will focus on promoting the use of sustainable transport and leaving your car at home policy while keeping our city centre inviting and open for business, pleasure and enjoyment,” concluded the report.

The report was furnished to councillors during Monday’s Cork City Council meeting after a motion was brought up for discussion by Fine Gael Cllr Garrett Kelleher and Green Party councillors Oliver Moran, Colette Finn and Dan Boyle.

Cllr Kelleher said he accepted the general sentiment that the pilot day be deferred until next year while also adding that he wanted to have a meeting as early as possible with City Hall management about the pilot day as soon as possible. “The better organised we are, the more we can work on reducing any negative impact it will have on businesses.”

Cllr Moran said a car free day isn’t just about walking and cycling but about using public transport too and while he said the recent pedestrianisation of city centre streets was nationally renowned and excellent, he said the enforcement of traffic restrictions on St Patrick’s Street “is letting us down”.