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Limerick to build one of Ireland’s first continuous suburbs to city centre cycle routes

Limerick City and County County are set to build one of Ireland’s first continuous suburbs to city centre cycle routes.

The 2.5km route will link from Dooradoyle over the N18 dual carriageway to Limerick City via the South Circular Road, linking a number of schools along it. The project follows the Dutch concept of using a mix of two-way cycle paths and low-traffic street designs.

Unlike other places which use the name South Circular Road, in Limerick, it is not the main road and new measures will be added to reduce and calm traffic.

The shared bicycle and car street design of South Circular Road will include a one-way modal filter and the existing northern end of the street will remain one-way for motorists — this means that motorists will continue to be able to access all houses and locations along the street but that through traffic will be curtailed.

Local cycling campaigners are seeking public support and improvements for the South Circular Road project. Meanwhile, the campaigners are also seeking improvements on another route, from the Limerick Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) campus to the city centre, to make it more continuous.

Local campaigners said today that schemes by Limerick’s Active Travel unit have the potential to transform how people get around the city. They said that routes will connect two third-level institutions, schools and many communities thru the city centre.

IMAGE: The modal filter and other planned traffic calming measures on South Circular Road.

Dave Tobin vice-chairperson of Cyclist.ie and member of the Limerick Cycling Campaign said: “The South Circular Road to City Centre Active Travel Scheme is the key artery for cyclists from the suburbs of Limerick City West to access the city centre. It has been identified as a key primary route since the 2016 ARUP Limerick Cycle Network Study and its excellent news to see it finally progress to Part 8 stage.”

Tobin said: “It’s the largest active travel project undertaken in Limerick to date and shows an interesting mix of interventions from the Active Travel team in Limerick Council. It’s essential that it’s delivered in a timely fashion to improve access for thousands of households that need the essential and necessary safety improvements it will bring for cyclists.”

He added that campaigners are encouraging people to lodge their strong support for the project through the consultation portal at mypoint.limerick.ie.

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Conor Buckley, the chairperson of the Limerick Cycling Campaign, said: “The Shannon Bridge and Condell road cycle tracks have been a great success, Now these more significant schemes have the potential to join the dots and deliver the start of a modern cycle network.”

“We have a history in Limerick of delivering unconnected disjointed cycle tracks, It’s really important that these ambitious schemes are continuous, cohesive and cater for all ages and abilities from 8 to 80. Cycling infrastructure is only as good as its weakest link so when space gets tight, it’s important we prioritise and plan for the bike,” he said.

Buckley said: “If we are to meet targets set out in Limerick’s transport strategy it’s vital that we offer a level of service on these routes that will present the bike as a viable alternative to the car for daily school, university and work journeys.”

He said that the city has strong political leadership in the north and west of the city to get these projects delivered in a timely manner.

“Both schemes are identified as primary arterial routes in Limerick’s transport strategy (LSMATS). The South Circular road scheme will continue on to serve Dooradoyle and the expanding Developments in Mungret in future schemes and the TUS to city centre scheme will connect to Chaerdavin, Old Cratloe road and hopefully Moyross,” he said.

Buckley said: “As primary routes, they should be delivered to the highest standards with significantly improved junctions and no breaks in levels of service for cyclists. This kind of connected segregated infrastructure helps combat the morning school traffic chaos we often see in Limerick. It offers safety and autonomy to children for independent cycling negating the need for escort car journeys to the school gate.”

He said that Limerick Cycling Campaign will be reviewing the details of the South Circular Scheme Part 8 plans and sharing their observations in the coming days.

Submissions on the South Circular Road to the City Centre scheme are open until 4pm on Thursday, November 10, 2022, at mypoint.limerick.ie.

Regarding the TUS route, Buckley added: “Submissions have closed on the TUS to the city centre scheme, It’s really encouraging to see the majority of submissions supporting the scheme and demanding a full connection to the city centre.”

The Limerick Cycling Campaign submission on the TUS route calls for it to be made more continuous and outlines that the non-continuous current plan “undermines its ability to deliver on its objectives and the objectives” of Limerick’s transport strategy. It has asked the council to look at more space-efficient two-way cycle paths rather than the sometimes narrow uni-directional cycle tracks as planned.

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