Cork city from Patrick's Hill. Photo: Zihao Chen/Unsplash

More trees and less cars on the streets, say Corkonians

Approximately 66% of Cork city residents strongly support the idea of Cork undergoing a significant transformation to become a more sustainable place for both living and working. This is according to a new survey of residents on behalf of Cork City Council’s Climate Action Unit.

Green spaces and less cars are high up on the agenda for Corkonians with a massive 89% of people saying they want more trees on city streets, 86% of people saying that they want more pedestrianised streets, 92% want more parks, biodiversity and green spaces in the city.

The research, completed by Behaviour and Attitudes, was undertaken to inform the draft Cork City Climate Action Plan which will go out to public consultation in the coming weeks.

Of those polled, 80% believed that we are already seeing climate change in the city, and the survey asked people about the paths to a cleaner, healthier city that could help to address the climate changes we are already seeing.

60% of people recognised that traffic congestion will decrease if there is continued investment in a more regular and reliable bus service, with 63% acknowledging that investment in cycling and walking infrastructure will enable healthier and more active lifestyles.

When it comes to public transport, just under 70% of residents say that they travel by car weekly, 38% use public transport weekly, and the numbers of people travelling by bike is rising with 12% of residents cycling weekly.

Fears around safety, lack of segregated cycle lanes and steep, hilly terrain are the main reasons that people don’t cycle more frequently. Half of cyclists say that the fear of travelling alongside vehicles means they cycle less often in the Cork city area.

The research found a clear variation in travel mode depending on age with 16–34 year olds being much more likely to be public transport users, weekly pedestrians and car passengers. Approximately 55% of 16–24 year olds in Cork use public transport weekly with 96% travelling by foot weekly.

Speaking about the findings of the survey, Cork City Council Chief Executive Ann Doherty said: “Cork is primed to be the fastest growing city in the country over the next 20 years. Climate action must be at the heart of this growth. The City Development Plan, our blueprint for the next 5 years, commits us to growing as a sustainable, compact liveable city.

“By creating a city where people have economic opportunities, live near the health and education services they require, have access to green space and amenities, to regular and reliable public transport and good walking and cycling facilities, we can live healthier lives and generate less emissions.”