Cllr McCarthy at a recent Council meeting asked that a dedicated Cycling Officer be put in place to develop a more joined-up cycling strategy in the city. Currently there is a Council officer, which cycling forms part of their wider work programme within the Directoratate for Community, Culture and Place-Making. The work varies from involvement in City wide public sustainable travel events such as European Mobility Week and the Bike Week as well as some road safety and promotion initiatives.
Cllr McCarthy noted; “Earlier this year, I noted publicly that the narrative around cycling in the city is broken and a lot more joined up thinking needs to happen. We need to create a stronger cycling strategy. For me we are only scratching the surface with the potential of cycling in the city. A dedicated Cycling Officer can bring a lot more to joined up thinking. Unfortunately, as well in the Council Chamber there are only a few voices in the Council Chamber who speak about the need for cycling. This is due to the variety of funding needs, needed for the city’s wards. Funding around estate resurfacing and footpath renewal is still recovering from the economic collapse”.
“The second element is that there is no local funding pot in Cork City Council to develop safe cycling infrastructure. At the budget estimates meetings last September, the Council had to choose between repair of footpaths or a local cycling funding pot. The majority wanted footpath repair, which is fair enough – but we shouldn’t be in a situation, where one has to choose between two important pieces of infrastructure”.
“Much of the funding for cycling infrastructure is highly dependent on central government funding. The Coke Bike Scheme and its expansion is also dependent on sponsorship nationally. At this moment in time without an uplift in interest in the Council chamber and in local funding, the development of cycling in the city will remain at a snail’s pace for the foreseeable future, which is very regrettable”, noted Cllr McCarthy.