a superior way to vacation and to stay

Envision a strolling, jogging or cycling a 45km route that follows the River Lee in Cork from Inniscarra Dam to Ballincollig, that goes straight by the coronary heart of Cork Metropolis and on to Mahon, and then winds about Cork harbour to Carrigaline prior to ending at the sea around Crosshaven.

This venture would be an remarkable regional asset, building Cork a improved, more healthy spot to dwell, work and engage in.

This is the vision of the Lee to Sea Greenway (L2S) — a harmless, protected walking and biking route linking the region’s splendor places with its busiest and most bustling centres and putting them in simple get to of around 200,000 people.

The Lee Fields, the Regional Park, the Marina, the Blackrock walkway, and the Crosshaven-Carrigaline route are great and treasured pieces of the region. But they could be so substantially additional if they had been linked. Accessible to far more, closer to more, employed by much more.

To increase sustainability and enhance good quality of life, the L2S must be a priority for regional authorities and the governing administration.

A map displaying the route of the greenway that would link Innsicarra Dam to Crosshaven. Pic: Lee to See Greenway

We need to have to lower the amount of car or truck journeys by creating attractive and practical options. Some 157,000 persons stay inside two kilometres (a 20-moment stroll or 5-moment cycle) of the L2S’s envisaged route. A full of 229,000 individuals stay in six kilometres of the proposed route.

The L2S will reward persons in both of those town and county, passing neighbourhoods, company parks, educational institutions, schools, hospitals, purchasing centres, lodges, places to eat, and cultural and heritage establishments. 

There is a substantial hunger for additional varied and greater leisure services and greater obtain to eco-friendly space in Cork. The need to have for these amenities was evident even in advance of the pandemic bolstered how vital workout and eco-friendly room are to our perfectly-staying. Pedestrianisation of the Marina, east of the town centre, for example, has been an unqualified accomplishment, when countless numbers now gain from far better accessibility and sympathetic enhancement of wildflower meadows, pathways, and a playground in the Regional Park in Ballincollig.

The L2S would multiply the price of these features and open up up new attractiveness places for people to learn.

It would also produce a hugely marketable attraction for the region’s tourism offering, specially in the growing active tourism sector. Just imagine the outstanding knowledge it could give — website visitors could appreciate exploring the Lee valley or Cork harbour, or delight in Cork’s loaded historic legacy like Spike Island and Camden Fort-Meagher, and afterwards enterprise into the metropolis for very good foodstuff and culture. Accommodation and transportation connections are currently in position: there are 2,200 resort beds on the doorstep of the route, and bus, rail, liner, ferry, and air connections to the rest of the country and continent.

The L2S could also perform a modest but significant part domestically as element of endeavours to avert catastrophic climate change by fast lowering our carbon emissions.

Transportation accounts for 40% of Ireland’s carbon dioxide emissions, but folks can not alter unless of course we present attractive options to the personal automobile. And general public transport alone simply cannot provide the reductions needed. Electrical vehicles’ lifecycle emissions supply only modest gains around petrol and diesel vehicles but, in distinction, the L2S offers a zero-carbon substitute for numerous visits close to metropolitan Cork.

A cycle lane on Washington Street in Cork. Improved cycling infrastructure could transform the city as we know it.

A cycle lane on Washington Avenue in Cork. Enhanced biking infrastructure could remodel the town as we know it.

Our main retail and work centres are located along the route, although 48,000 students and personnel at Cork’s faculties and a even further 33,000 schoolchildren are all inside two kilometres of the route.

In Vienna and Amsterdam, political decisions indicate that it is usual to walk or cycle to the practice station or bus quit. The L2S would enhance present general public transport infrastructure and allow identical transport selections here.

If you are a driver, the L2S is also in your desire – the extra folks walk or cycle to get all over, the much less site visitors congestion and parking demand for motorists.

Put only, the L2S positive aspects anyone and is the most vital climate mitigation measure in Cork.

By reworking transportation and excellent of everyday living, the L2S could also increase Cork’s competitiveness.

The urban regeneration techniques proposed in the Docklands and Tivoli will have eye-catching, zero-carbon transportation possibilities for people and workers. So, way too, will the countless numbers of personnel in Cork’s significant new office developments which have nominal parking but are around the L2S.

The transformation to 15-moment towns, where most day to day visits are inside a 15-minute wander or cycle, is by now underway in Paris, London, and other major metropolitan areas. The L2S could be a critical enabler of 15-minute neighbourhoods in this article.

Metropolis competitiveness or how eye-catching a town is to international expenditure and high spending careers is all about high quality of life. That’s why American metropolitan areas advertise their greenways, like New York’s Highline. L2S would likewise improve the region’s worldwide competitiveness.

 An abandoned railway has been given new life on Chicago’s west side. The 606 is an 2.7-mile elevated park and trail that was built on what was once an industrial train line. Today, the popular trail features a chain of street-level parks, scenic look-out points, an observatory, and public art installations.

 An abandoned railway has been offered new everyday living on Chicago’s west facet. The 606 is an 2.7-mile elevated park and path that was designed on what was after an industrial educate line. Now, the well known trail features a chain of avenue-level parks, scenic glimpse-out details, an observatory, and general public artwork installations.

The L2S have to be crafted to a world-class normal. But what accurately does this indicate?

It signifies that grownups and youngsters of all ages and capabilities will have to be capable to use it with self esteem. It ought to be cozy for leisure buyers and successful for those using it for transportation. Anywhere possible, people today on bikes really should be divided from people strolling, as is conventional in most European towns. The route should be protected from motorised website traffic, with thorough style and design to make the facility interesting, harmless and snug.

To facilitate a lot more zero-carbon commuting, it’s also essential that the town section is taken care of largely as a kind of transport. It need to be steady and immediate, with fantastic connections to neighbourhoods and enterprises on the north and south sides of the river.

Can we afford not to create the L2S?

Calculations utilizing the Globe Health and fitness Organisation Health and fitness Economic Evaluation Resource (Warmth) suggest that, even for a very low use circumstance, the L2S would generate an annual economic benefit from enhanced general public health and fitness of about €21m for every yr.

That implies, the L2S could mostly pay back for by itself in a single calendar year.

Bigger use scenarios could produce cost savings upwards of €50m every single yr. This does not even issue in the economic value from improved figures of people.

There is no doubt that the L2S signifies fantastic worth for revenue for Irish modern society. The Lee to Sea will be a everyday living-maximizing, carbon-reducing, and dollars-saving asset for the location and nation. It ticks all the boxes of nationwide and regional priorities techniques: it is sustainable, it supports community well being and actual physical activity, it presents a protected faculty operate, it boosts tourism, it is obtainable to all ages and talents, and it raises our financial competitiveness. It’s a powerful job.

Which is why we’re contacting for the L2S to be a prime precedence in both equally town and county development strategies.

Substantially of the route currently exists it’s just a make a difference of signing up for the dots.

So, get behind L2S: no matter if you wander, scoot, cycle, wheelchair, rollerblade or operate irrespective of whether you use it for leisure or transportation regardless of whether you cycle, travel, or consider the bus. Just think about how it could improve our life.

3 years from now you may invest your Easter weekend going for walks, running, biking or rolling alongside the L2S.

 

Dr Dean Venables is an atmospheric scientist in the School of Chemistry and the Environmental Exploration Institute at University Higher education Cork with pursuits in air high quality and sustainable travel. He is also a member of the Cork Biking Campaign.