Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby rofbp » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:16 pm

the city council budget is clearly going to be constrained over the next few years.
developers have empty pockets and will likely sit on sites, rather than develop them.

that leaves cork city in a conundrum: how do you facilitate and implement improvements to the city streetscapes, buildings, traffic and quality of life for citizens and visitors in this financial environment?

do members of this forum have any inexpensive suggestions for how the city can improve up to 2012?

clearly a lot of this responsibility will fall on the city council.

my suggestions:
1. is there a case for a radical overhaul of the traffic management of the city centre? traffic on the quays hinders the movement of pedestrians, and enjoyment of the river as a natural leisure resource, while diversion of traffic away from the city centre would make the most of the refurbished streets for pedestrians.

2. the walkway beside the river from the north mall to dyke parade has proved hugely successful, and is used by a large number of people daily. the city council, anc county council should develop the walkway along the river from the lee fields to the angler's rest.

3. Library services: although the grand parade library seems in planning limbo currently, other libraries need renovation. i am thinking particularly of mayfield library, which could be a relatively inexpensive refurbishment.

4. park and ride: can we finally sort this out? they are glorified carparks after all. as i alluded to in point 1, the city needs a reduction of traffic in the centre.

5. some sort of local area initiative to stimulate property owners on macurtain st. this street badly needs remedial work. a lot of the shop fronts are quite poor quality, and above the shops don't look very good either. if the plan is eventually to extend the city centre towards a redeveloped kent station (whenever that happens), then macurtain st needs addressing soon.

6. washington st: same points as macurtain st apply.

7. barrack st area: as 5 and 6.

8. finally: basic cleaning and painting: a lot of bridges, lampposts, signage are in poor repair. they are relatively easy to fix. same applies to uneven footpaths, broken and bent bollards (eg north main st and castle st)

i know a lot of these suggestions won't rock anyones architectural boat, but grand plans cost a lot of money, and i think a few of these are relatively cheap and easy to implement, and would bring on the city no end.

sorry for such a long post.

has anyone else any suggestions?
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby Yossarian » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:11 am

mate i fear cash flow is the least of your worries when it comes to renovating our city. shit all that you mentioned has been needed for years. the bigger obstacles are apathy and indifference. what you mention are plausible points. ignoring the preferential monetary vortex that is dublin, there will be no investment in cork that doesn't directly produce immediate return on investment and/or immediate return on status quo until 2013 at the earliest. why paint the shop when it made no difference before, and no-one's buying now? why make it harder for motorists to reach the shops that so desperately need them?
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby missarchi » Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:55 am

there is a new prison mooted with 450 places?
Make them work for you... just supply materials and a leader
and you can pave the way...
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby Cliff Barnes » Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:44 am

The appearance of the city can be vastly improved within current budgets as it is merely a matter of focussing on how to improve on the image in certain areas.

1. Signage has to be improved and simplified.Its better than Dublin but thats not saying much.

2. Defunct poles left over from previous failed signage schemes,traffic poles,advertising signage etc.are all left as hazards taking up vital pedestrian space and creating obstacles fro buggies etc.

3.The Bridges of the city are in a terrible state and need to be cleaned and lighting supplied or repaired.St.Patricks bridge lanterns a cae in point.

4.Traffic one way system must be reviewed especially Bridge St & McCurtain St.Expand pedestrian street network especially around the Crawford art gallery and the narrow streets leading to the quays.Does Merchants Quay need to have 4+ lanes ? As we have a downstream tunnel traffic does not need as much roadway through the city centre.

5.The Quays and riverfrontage largely ignored with badly arranged parking and poor pavements or cars actually parked right up to the riverfrontCan some cheap scheme similar to Northmalls simplicity be provided as a standard throughput the city with seating and trees ?This wa sdone over 100 years ago and would take away the rawness of Merchants Quaty S.C.etc.

6.Port of Cork bonded warehouses - when did this get approval to end up as a carpark as the fantastic stone buildings fall down ?

7. Subsidies or tax relief for shopfronts and painting of buildings ?
Indecements for businesses ?

There was always money there for basic improvements which was applied incorrectly and with contract prices at floor level an even greater opportunity to finish the city centre with quality can be achieved as the city has come a long way from cars parked in the middle of Patrick Street and traders wanting car parking spaces outside their premises.
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby jungle » Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:27 am

Agree with a lot of suggestions already made.

One that I'd add and which in fairness to the Corporation they're doing to some extent is managing the traffic out of inner city areas. We've seen a first attempt around Evergreen Rd and Quaker Rd, but similar schemes could be used round Blarney St, Shandon, parts of Barrack St, Douglas St and the whole warren of roads between Douglas St and Barrack St.

Ideally, the only people driving through the areas should be people who are actually going somewhere in the area. At the moment, there is far too much use of them as rat runs. Getting rid of this through traffic should hugely increase the attractiveness of the areas as places to live.

One thing that's disappointing in the Evergreen Rd/Quaker Rd scheme is that there was no provision made for a contraflow bicycle lane (or even put 'Except Bicycles' under the no entry signs). With cars out of the areas, they can also make safe cycling routes into the city.

While in the long run, you want an entire scheme that fixes up the footpaths, gets the utility cables underground and improves the general environment, putting restrictions on traffic is a cheap option that only requires putting up a few signs.
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby rumpelstiltskin » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:17 am

In terms of improving signage and street furniture, and reducing traffic etc, well that can apply to every Irish city. But Cork should really start looking at its riverside areas. They're completely unexploited in terms of providing interesting places to stroll and sit down. Everything east of Patrick's Bridge should be razed to ground too, but that would be a tad more expensive.

Also, the Shandon area is a moderately quaint part of the city that has not been properly exploited. Simply providing some old-fashioned lighting and features, and properly paving the steps leading up to it will improve the atmosphere greatly.
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby Cliff Barnes » Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:59 am

rumpelstiltskin wrote:In terms of improving signage and street furniture, and reducing traffic etc, well that can apply to every Irish city. But Cork should really start looking at its riverside areas. They're completely unexploited in terms of providing interesting places to stroll and sit down. Everything east of Patrick's Bridge should be razed to ground too, but that would be a tad more expensive.

Also, the Shandon area is a moderately quaint part of the city that has not been properly exploited. Simply providing some old-fashioned lighting and features, and properly paving the steps leading up to it will improve the atmosphere greatly.


Shandon in a massive missed opportunity.The City should give grants and tax breaks to artisans to live an dwork in the area.Paint the houses,provide proper street furniture and lighting.Upgrade the road anad lanes.This is a great quain area that if it was in Dublin it would be some "cultural quarter" equally the area around Elizebeth fort and St.Finbarrs has potential and cold do with investment to attract tourists etc.There are areas similar in Prague,Paris and budapest that I have seen and it does'nt take a lot to make them attractive but it has to start with city hall.Luckily in Cork we have these interesting parts of our city with attractive dramatic topography that have this potential and history that other cities will never have with their sterile docklands/urban renewal could be anywhere schemes.
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby Leesider » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:28 pm

Cliff Barnes wrote:Shandon in a massive missed opportunity.The City should give grants and tax breaks to artisans to live an dwork in the area.Paint the houses,provide proper street furniture and lighting.Upgrade the road anad lanes.This is a great quain area that if it was in Dublin it would be some "cultural quarter" equally the area around Elizebeth fort and St.Finbarrs has potential and cold do with investment to attract tourists etc.There are areas similar in Prague,Paris and budapest that I have seen and it does'nt take a lot to make them attractive but it has to start with city hall.Luckily in Cork we have these interesting parts of our city with attractive dramatic topography that have this potential and history that other cities will never have with their sterile docklands/urban renewal could be anywhere schemes.


I live near Shandon and was walking through the area with a Solvak lady, she commented on how it reminded her of some of the narrow streets in Pargue that are very popular with tourists. One restaruant, a hotel, and a sweet shop are all that is there, disgraceful given the potential. The narrow pedistrian streets coming from the quay have now been gated, locked at night, my feeling on this is if the area was done up there would be no need for these gates as it wouldn't attract the unsocial element.

Have noticed the bar right across from the entrance to the Shandon Bells has been sold, I wonder is there any chance this will be done up to attract more tourists or is this wishful thinking on my part??
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby johnglas » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:54 pm

Interesting comments on Shandon, with all of which I agree; the one point that nobody has mentioned is the oppresive amount of parking in this area. Given the topography and layout, you can have character or carparking, but not both. There is no 'right' to park your car(s) outside your front door (and it's about as inner-city as you can get ffs!).

PS If the Butter Market and the Firkin Crane are examples of good conservation and re-use, I'm missing something - and that's the fault of City Hall.
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby rofbp » Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:05 pm

focusing on the river and shandon seem to be emerging as themes.

i envisaged that this thread wouldn't spark amazing and impressive ideas when i posted it, and some people may be underwhelmed by that.

the whole point of it was simple, basic and inexpensive ideas, and seating, basic repairs to lighting and painting was what i had in mind. i'm glad that people have compared shandon to some other european cities, as it certainly has potential.

i would suggest the st finbarr's cathedral/old city walls area as a second possiblilty as a cultural area for the city. this could also link to a development of the old beamish site, discussed elsewhere on here, though that does stray from my inexpensive theme
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby SoundsDreamy » Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:48 am

South Parish area could be amazing if enhanced. One way streets cycle lanes. It could compare with old town in Valencia which is thriving.
Focusing on Red Abbey Douglas st area.

http://www.southparish.ie/

Connect Blackrock to the City via the River extending the marina walk.. CPO the landowners and put down some tarmac. What an amenity that would be....

Bonded warehouse as a cultural building.
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby Leesider » Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:39 pm

Burst Inniscarra dam to flood the city and start all over again!! :eek::p

Douglas St needs a good seeing to alright, with the Fas building derelict now the place has got even worse!
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby Cliff Barnes » Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:49 pm

Leesider wrote:Burst Inniscarra dam to flood the city and start all over again!! :eek::p

Douglas St needs a good seeing to alright, with the Fas building derelict now the place has got even worse!


Douglas Street / South Parish including around Elizabeth Fort are a great opportunity - great vibe around that part of Cork City.

Bam have planning to demolish the FAS Office an dput in a 10 storey block afaik
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby Leesider » Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:57 pm

Cliff Barnes wrote:Douglas Street / South Parish including around Elizabeth Fort are a great opportunity - great vibe around that part of Cork City.

Bam have planning to demolish the FAS Office an dput in a 10 storey block afaik


Saw that alright, but they also said they would be starting on it before the year is out.....don't think this will happen, do you??

Shame there is planning on a number of sites around the city that won't go ahead for the foreseeable future such as the old garden centre on camden quay. As far as I can see O'Callaghan is the only with plans that might actually be followed through on over the next 2 years. Examples being down by the bus stop and the hospital for Jurys. I wonder when will see another crane up in the city after the one for the Opera Lane development comes down!!
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby opus » Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:10 pm

Cliff Barnes wrote:Douglas Street / South Parish including around Elizabeth Fort are a great opportunity - great vibe around that part of Cork City.

Bam have planning to demolish the FAS Office an dput in a 10 storey block afaik


Any idea why the Elizabeth Fort has been closed for years now? The top of the wall was a great place to bring visitor for a good city view. It originally closed for refurbishment but that was finished ages ago.
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby Radioactiveman » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:36 pm

Good thread and I'd agree with many of the points raised, particularly,

1. Send a van with three guys around the city for a few days to remove the numerous defunct poles from traffic lights, signs, etc, pop in a bit of cement and the job is done.

2. Introduce a concerted scheme of tree planting. If it sits still long enough, plant a tree on it. Especially city and suburban green areas. Very cheap and easy to do.

3. Speed up decision making - there are less planning applications submitted (especially large ones) why should they take the same length of time to adjudicate on? Yes, I realise there are legal ramifications.

4. Finally, I suggest that a group be formed of like- and civic-minded citizens who have the time and energy to devote to some refurbishment projects around the city. There are plenty of people now unemployed (unfortunately) or on part-time or just with some spare time who could come together to plant trees, paint a few walls, clean up a river, fix a wall, etc. yes, I know its the city council's job but somebody has got to take some initiative here. I know I'd be happy to get involved.
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby jungle » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:43 pm

I agree thoroughly with the idea of greening up areas, whether with trees of grass. One particular area that comes to mind is the tarmaced over area by the flats between Gilabbey St and Bandon Rd. It's not even used for parking, so the acres of tarmac are just not needed and give the whole area an unloved look.

In addition to your suggestion on polls, I'd say unapproved signs need to be removed. In fairness, Cork City isn't too bad compared to some country towns (have a look at the entrance to Midleton just after you've left the dual carriageway), but a lot of visual clutter could be easily removed. No business should need to put up a sign more than 200m from their premises.

Having just comes back from business trips to the South-West of the UK and France, it was striking when over there how few signs there were up.
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby Radioactiveman » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:49 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with you regarding illegal signage. It is the easiest thing in the world to prosecute - I mean, it's not like its impossible to figure out who put them there!! :p
Remove the sign, send the company concerned a €200 fine. Job done!
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby Cliff Barnes » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:53 pm

The broken lanterns on Patricks bridge are a disgrace and just left that way for years.

I spend a lot of time in France and just simple ideas like trees and seating on the quays provide shelter and shade ( ok its Ireland ) + take the visual sting out of some of their poor modernist architecture.Cork is very similar to some French cities actually with the topography and streetscape.

Planting

Poles ( removal of defunct poles )

Paving

Inexpensive and effective.
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby Leesider » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:23 pm

Cliff Barnes wrote:Poles ( removal of defunct poles )



Inexpensive and effective.



counted 3 at the top of Washington St alone the other day, wouldn't take much to clean those eyesores
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby rofbp » Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:44 pm

Radioactiveman wrote:
4. Finally, I suggest that a group be formed of like- and civic-minded citizens who have the time and energy to devote to some refurbishment projects around the city. There are plenty of people now unemployed (unfortunately) or on part-time or just with some spare time who could come together to plant trees, paint a few walls, clean up a river, fix a wall, etc. yes, I know its the city council's job but somebody has got to take some initiative here. I know I'd be happy to get involved.


excellent idea. i saw a feature last week on one of the british news channels about unemployed people working on cleaning up around a river estuary. i suppose it is in the same vein as community employment schemes, and i can't see government giving much funding toward it currently, but civic minded individuals would certainly band together, if such a scheme was put together. it would definitely be a positive thing to have on a CV
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby Cathal Dunne » Sat Aug 01, 2009 7:32 pm

Rebrand the place as Little Dublin!
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby DOC » Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:09 pm

A car.....a couple of bags of fertiliser and a detonator.....parked outside Merchants Quay (when nobody is around of course).....a very inexpensive way to improve Cork City!

Was driving along the north quays at the weekend, Merchants Quay is by far the biggest blot on the Cork landscape!
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby Cliff Barnes » Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:14 pm

DOC wrote:A car.....a couple of bags of fertiliser and a detonator.....parked outside Merchants Quay (when nobody is around of course).....a very inexpensive way to improve Cork City!

Was driving along the north quays at the weekend, Merchants Quay is by far the biggest blot on the Cork landscape!


This monstrosity actually ignores the river ansd the rest of the city. Poor choice of materials snd horizontal linear form just awful.

*** Idea.****

Give 1 lane or so back to the developer - Architectural design competition - extra floor space and new facade. Win win for everybody.

What are all those lanes for anyway as the Tunnel & south link diverts traffic out and away from core ?

It looked better before that heap was built.
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Re: Inexpensive suggestions to improve Cork city

Postby MrX » Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:39 pm

Merchant's Quay Centre is likely to become a completely lost cause fairly soon if something's not done.

The interior of the centre, despite a recent minor spruce-up, is pretty drab and cramped and there is loads of retail space opening up on the other side of Patrick's Street. I would suspect that many smaller tenants will decamp across the street, assuming the price is right.

The result will be an empty MQ.

Did the original MQ planning permission require open shop fronts along the quayside ? I seem to remember being able to walk into some of those stores in the 1990s. They are all sealed-up, only with access from inside the centre, the result is a completely destroyed quay side.

I reckon there's a good case for demolishing MQ.
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