This ties in with the ongoing re-development of the Pairc Ui Chaoimh GAA grounds and the map below shows the area concerned...
At first glance, it would seem to be of little interest from a running point of view but if the overall plan is looked at in more detail then it does in the longer term.
1) The final plan is to have a walkway alongside the River Lee from the City Centre to the Marina. See red dots.
"MARINA PARK - CITY CENTRE CONNECTION
There is an aim to connect the footpath along the quay wall, linking Marina Park and City Centre. Preference is for connection along the back of the boat storage facility of the Shandon Boat Club. This is an essential, but long term goal. Essential repairs to quay walls should be part of this construction. A multifunctional profile for the Marina in which boulevard, tow path, pedestrians, skating and vehicular traffic (possible public transport at a later date), have been accommodated."
2) In the shorter term, the Marina will be pedestrianised.
"The Marina roadway running alongside the River Lee will be pedestrianised and transformed into a wide promenade for walkers, joggers and cyclists."
"Strategy: Spaces are to be designed primarily for pedestrians, with cars behaving as guests."
3) The area on the Marina between the Centre Park Road and the ESB power station is to be re-developed. Many of you will know as the area where the Cork BHAA HSE 4 mile race finishes. At the moment, it's a bit of a cul-de-sac but once the direct pedestrian link to the City Centre is established, this section will be used a lot more.
|Top...Current view, Bottom..Post development|
4) New jogging track?? I'm not sure if this is just a concept or if it will make it into the final plans. See purple dots below...
"A new pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure is to be developed for the new users of the park. The aim is to provide for all kind of users from pedestrians, joggers, cyclists and others and to offer a wide variety of experiences through the park, from easily accessible multifunctional routes, to more challenging adventure trails. Some general starting points for the Marina Park’s new pavement infrastructure include the following.
Several distances indicated along the route and fitted with electronic timers."
5) Old Railway Line.....There will also be some cleaning of the surrounding areas and better lighting at the Marina end (See #3 on map).
"THE OLD RAILWAY LINE...The railway line is lined with sporadic informal plantings of tree stands. Many of the trees are partially covered in ivy and enclose the railway route with undergrowth making it unsafe to use in the evenings and blocking views into the surrounding park. We propose to improve the experience of this walkway by removing the ivy and undergrowth along the top of the railway line to improve visibility to the surrounding areas of the park and to make the route better for users"
6) Parking and Lighting......The most immediate impact is likely to be better parking and better lighting at night in some areas. There are no plans to light up all of the Marina because of the potential effects on wildlife.
In the long term, the artists impression below shows what the area might look like. There is a new bridge planned across the River Lee which will connect the Marina with Tivoli. This will have a major impact for runners living in Mayfield, Montenotte and Tivoli as it will give them direct access to the Mahon-Blackrock loop.
The Centre Park road will become much busier and it's almost certain that the usual 5k race loop that is used at present (eg. John Buckley Sports 5k) will be a thing of the past. It won't mean that races can't be held there, just that a new route that most likely takes in the old railway line.
All of that is of course very much in the future. The new bridge will block all cargo ships and the Port of Cork will have to be moved out to Ringaskiddy before anything can happen.
1) The Marina Park Master Plan can be seen HERE (Note that it's 59MB!)
2) The Evening Echo has an article HERE