The MacCurtain Street Public Transport Improvement Scheme was officially opened by Tánaiste Micheál Martin and Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Kieran McCarthy. Photo Cathal Noon

MacCurtain Street opens to two-way bus traffic

Marguerite Kiely

After months of major roadworks, the long-awaited MacCurtain Street Public Transport Improvement Scheme was officially opened by Tánaiste Micheál Martin last weekend.

It is expected that the project will improve the reliability and journey times of bus services in the city and providing improved walking and cycling infrastructure along the city quays and at key streets and junctions.

The aim of the scheme, which brings about a significant redrawing of traffic management priorities in the city centre, and which began in January 2022, is to make public transport, walking and cycling more attractive for people living in, working in and visiting the city centre.

Speaking at its opening, Tánaiste Micheál Martin said: “Cities are for our people, our streets are places where people can meet to connect and enjoy the unique atmosphere that areas like MacCurtain Street have to offer.

“The improvements in the public spaces delivered under the MacCurtain Street Public Transport Improvement Scheme will benefit this city and the people of Cork for generations to come. An inviting, attractive public space inevitably fosters a sense of community, economic development, health and wellbeing, bringing the city to life.”

A key component of the MacCurtain Street Public Transport Improvement Scheme is improved bus infrastructure and changes to several Cork city bus routes.

Since 26 November, new 24 hour bus lanes will be in operation on MacCurtain Street, Coburg Street, Bridge Street and Cathedral Walk. This will allow for two-way bus movements on these streets, making it easier to access local schools and businesses by bus.

Funded by the National Transport Authority (NTA), the works on the project included major public realm investment, with over 12,530 square metres of public realm and upgraded pathways, new public lighting, seating, street furniture as well as a substantial programme of tree and shrub planting.

There has been 1 kilometre of new cycle lanes installed, as well as upgrades to 17 signalised traffic junctions and pedestrian crossings, 12 new bus stops, 5 of these with shelters, and over 30,360 metres of resurfaced roadway across the scheme.

Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Kieran McCarthy said: “The opening of this Cork City Council project is an important piece of an evolving story about how we live, work and recreate in a growing Cork city. MacCurtain Street is now an important exemplar of a vibrant, diverse, sustainable, green quarter with buses, pedestrians and cyclists making their way in and out of the city, safely and timely.”

Chief Executive of Cork City Council, Ann Doherty said: “Our city is changing with our city population projected to increase by 50% by 2040. To accommodate this growth, the improvement of our public transport network is not just vital, it is imperative if our city is to function well and prosper. This project is a key element of this.“