Plan for Limerick’s O’Connell Street falls short, says councillor and campaigners

— Livable cities campaigners call for full pedestrianisation.
— No existing cycling provision in the area used as reason for not providing for cycling.

The deadline for submission on Limerick’s planned O’Connell Street Revitalisation Project is midnight tonight — the plan has been heavily criticised for retaining two lanes of motor traffic with many calling for full pedestrianisation.

Submissions can be made online until midnight. The design is set to be voted on by councillors on Monday.

It includes removing and narrowing lane widths, removing parking and changing one lane into a bus lane.

Cllr Elisa O’Donovan (Social Democrats) said: “There is €9 million being spent on Limericks premier street and this is such an important public realm project to shape the future of our city. I cannot accept the current plans. They are not good enough for a modern, vibrant Limerick city. Make sure you have your say too.”

While Limerick City and County Council has retained a car lane and changed another into a bus lane, the council has said that providing for cycling is not needed — because, the council says, there’s no existing cycling provision in the area.

In its design statement for the project, the council explains that the lack of provision for cycling means there’s no need for provision for cycling. It said: “Due to the existing one-way system within the city centre, and the limited cycle network, it was not proposed to include cycle lanes on Phase 1 of the O’Connell Street Revitalisation as it would not provide additional cyclist connections over the relatively short length of the scheme.”

The council added: “However, the inclusion of the bus lane on the eastern side provides a less heavily-trafficked lane for use by cyclists, improving ease of movement southbound.

The council also claims: “The design will also accommodate with minimal amendments a two-way dedicated public transport corridor with segregated cycleways if required under the Limerick Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy,” but, if that’s the case, it’s unclear why the segregated cycle tracks now.

The council also said that bicycle parking stands will be integrated with proposed seating areas to “provide safe areas for locking bicycles with passive surveillance.”

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

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