Don’t put cars centre stage in plan to revitalise Limerick City Centre, says campaigners

Out-of-town shopping centres are attractive because they don’t have one-way roads with two or three lanes running through them, the Limerick Cycling Campaign said when responding to a press release by Limerick City and County Council.

Limerick City and County Council said: “Limerick City and County Council has today announced that it has created a post for a dedicated City Centre Revitalisation Manager to spearhead a programme to help redress challenges to the retail sector. This follows on from the exciting news last week that the €180 million Opera Centre development has received planning consent and development work will commence later this year, as will re-development work on O’Connell Street.”

“The appointment is one aspect of a range of measures being adopted by Limerick City and County Council to trigger the revitalisation of the city centre to increase city centre footfall, meeting head-on challenges from online retailing and out of town shopping,” the council said.

It added: “The local authority is also examining measures to make city centre car parking more attractive for people to visit for shopping, particularly on Saturdays when there are already 2,000 free on-street disc parking spaces just outside the core business district, and will bring forward measures shortly to address this.”

The statement, which can be read in full on the council’s website, had only one other mention of transport: “Bus access will be promoted via leap card”.

In their response, the Limerick Cycling Campaign said that out-of-town shopping centres “enforce a traffic management systems to provide a safe pleasant centre”, adding: “You leave your car at the edge and walk to centre.”

In a Twitter thread, the campaign said: “The notion that attracting more cars into our Georgian city will somehow provide a solution to its decline is somewhat alarming from a local authority in 2020 when cities all over the world are doing the exact opposite.”

It said Limerick should look at “the transformation of Ghent, Belgium, who instituted the Traffic Circulation Plan in April 2017, which completely changed the way people get around. This swift, creative strategy has turned Ghent into a place for people.”

Here’s the full Twitter thread:

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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