Cycle lane like a “chocolate teapot” with no urgency replacing bollards removed in 2022

A councillor and residents have questioned why it is taking so long to replace bollards which are missing from Limerick’s €9 million redesign of O’Connell Street.

Three bollards have been removed from the street. At least some of them were removed by the council’s contractors after the bollards and the sockets the bollards fit into were damaged.

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Some of the bollards were removed in the Summer of last year, another bollard was damaged around October 2022 and later removed. There are now bollards removed on both sides of the road. Some of the sockets which hold the bollards have been filled in and covered over with cement.

“We spent €9 million on O’Connell Street to have cycle lanes but when the cars are parked there it’s really dangerous,” she Cllr Elisa O’Donovan (Social Democrats).

She said: “Back in May I realised that the bollards were missing and there were cars being parked on either side of the road.”

Rachel Enright, a mother who cycles with her children along the streets, said: “This new cycle lane is effective as a chocolate teapot unless illegal parking is addressed as soon as possible.”

She said that the lane isn’t always blocked but it was especially an issue when the contra-flow cycle lane was blocked — the road is one-way with a bus lane and a general traffic lane, while the cycle tracks go in both directions.

Cllr O’Donovan said that she has received a lot of representations about the missing bollards and has tried to draw the attention of council officials to the issue.

Cllr O’Donovan said when she asked at the local area meeting why the bollards were removed that officials were unsure why the bollards were removed. It took a formal written question to get a response from officials.

The response from Limerick City and County Council said: “These bollards and their associated sockets suffered significant damage from a third party vehicle and were subsequently removed by Shareridge Ltd due to the potential risk they posed to health and safety. Replacement of these bollards have been identified on a list of snags to be addressed by the contractor during the defects liability period.”

But Cllr O’Donovan said: “I don’t really know what to make of that response, the bollards could have been reinstated [by now]. To call it a snag is not really what it is — it is facilitating cars to park illegally on the cycle lane… it’s diminishing the issue calling it a bit of a snag, it’s been like this for months.”

She said that it makes a cycle lane built as part of the €9m revitalisation of O’Connell Street “completely unusable”.

Cllr O’Donovan said: “It needs to be rectified and could be as soon as possible as they are doing work all the time on different things on the street.”

1 comments

  1. This is what happens when there is no maintenance division for bike lanes. Spend all the capital on new expensive, often over-engineered schemes, and then not maintain them. Countless locations around the country where those ugly (yet necessary) plastic wands have been broken or removed and not replaced. Johnstown Road near me has about 15 removed over the last 2 years since Covid, with none replaced. Similarly many bike lanes are not swept, kept clear of encroaching greenery etc.

    Councils have a roads budget each year, yet rarely extend that to maintaining the bike lanes unless it it suits to label a painted bike lane’s tarmac along with the total cost of the road resurface under active travel – as was the case in 2020 with e.g. Kildare St.

    Reply

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