Some businesses want Wickham St to Clare St active travel project rerouted, but campaigners say ‘yellow route’ should be followed

A public information event is to be held next week on Limerick City’s Wickham Street to Clare Street active travel project — it’s understood there’s strong opposition from some businesses while cycle campaigners say the route is “a key piece of the jigsaw connecting” the city.

Campaigners say that the yellow route is the only option that fulfils the project’s brief, while some businesses say they are not against walking and cycling, they just want the route moved further away.

Limerick City and County Council said today that members of the public are invited to attend the information session on the progression of the proposals. It will take place on Tuesday, December 19th between 6pm and 8pm at the Strand Hotel, Ennis Road, Limerick, V94 03F2.

It follows from non-statutory public consultation which was held between April and May this year and more public consultation will follow early in the new year.

Sean McGlynn, who heads the Active Travel team at Limerick City and County Council, said: “Following the initial round of non-statutory consultation held earlier this year, the Active Travel team took this important feedback into account as they progressed the proposals. We have also begun engagement with the Council’s Place-Making department, to ensure the proposals run in tandem with the overall development of the area.”

“Work on the project has now advanced to a stage whereby it’s appropriate for the team to ensure all stakeholders are fully informed about its current status as we head into 2024,” he said.

He added: “I would encourage all of those with an interest in the future direction of the city centre’s transport infrastructure to ensure they are fully briefed on where the project stands by availing of this public information session. Following this event, it’s anticipated a second non-statutory public consultation session will be held in early 2024, to once again gather further important feedback from stakeholders.”

The council said that as part of the planning for the project that it has compiled an Economic Assessment Report on each of the proposed route options.

On that issue, a council press release said: “This work, which is being conducted by a third party outside of Limerick City & County Council, has involved directly engaging with businesses on the proposed roots in the form of questionnaires and surveys. Items being considered in the Economic Assessment include existing trade in the area(s) concerned and how this trade may or may not be impacted by the implementation of the proposed scheme.”

Dave Tobin, vice-chairperson of and member of the Limerick Cycling Campaign, said that the groups welcome the work of the council’s Active Travel team on the project.

“It’s a key piece of the jigsaw connecting the incoming western bike corridor to both the city centre and further on to the University of Limerick. It will provide a proper safe and segregated route for cyclists through the city centre and is an important link that will help facilitate and extend the current canal route from UL and connect it closer to their city centre campus,” he said.

Tobin said: “This will be transformative for the business operating there throughout the week enabling safer and more vibrant living streets as part of the scheme. Study after study has shown that interventions like this push business to the area.”

“The yellow route is the only option that fulfils the brief of the scheme and we hope to see this consultation tease out any tweaks needed to make this route work for all stakeholders. It’s identified as a key route in LSMATS and is one of the more urgent city centre routes to develop,” he said.

He added: “The residential area this serves has some of the lowest car ownership in the city with the overwhelming majority of residents walking or cycling for their daily needs. Current Active Travel infrastructure is simply not at an acceptable standard for their needs. This scheme will provide them with the infrastructure they deserve. This project will be transformative for the area and will bring huge improvements for businesses, residents, students and cyclists across the city.”

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