Draft Transport Strategy published for Limerick city
Posted: 2 September 2020 | Sam Mehmet (Intelligent Transport)
A public consultation on the draft Strategy, which includes proposals for cycling, rail, buses and road, has commenced and continues until 16 October.
A draft of the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (LSMATS) has been published by the National Transport Authority (NTA), in collaboration with Limerick City and County Council, Clare County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland.
One of the main ambitions of the plan is to radically transform the cycling environment so that anyone of any age will feel safe and confident enough to cycle to work, school, college and other activities. The NTA hopes that this will lead to a boom in the numbers of people cycling within Limerick City and suburbs, Shannon and other towns and villages.
A cycling network totalling 184km has been proposed, of which 103km is to be cycle tracks and greenways that are segregated from traffic. This is in comparison to the total 34km cycle infrastructure of mixed quality that is currently in existence.
The document lays out plans of a “fully-connected high-quality cycle network” linking all major origins and destinations within the area and an inter-urban network connecting Limerick City and metropolitan town centres.
As part of the Strategy, a comprehensive BusConnects package for Limerick and Shannon has also been proposed. “The flexibility of buses means that routes and frequencies can be quickly adapted to support phases of new development or as circumstances dictate. Buses will also perform an increasingly important role as Park and Ride facilities are developed,” NTA wrote in a statement.
Bus priority will be improved by plans including the reallocation of road space, investment in Advance Bus Signalisation, development of bus gates, and the acquisition of land to accommodate bus lanes where required.
For rail, a move to higher speeds and/or electrification for inter-city services is to be examined.
NTA, Iarnród Eireann, and both local authorities intend to examine the feasibility of providing a dualtrack between Limerick Colbert and Limerick Junction to facilitate improved national and regional connectivity.
It is the intention of the NTA and the Limerick City and County Council to work in collaboration with Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann and other relevant stakeholders to complete the redevelopment of Colbert rail and bus station to provide a more attractive, secure and comfortable experience for passengers.
The NTA also noted that it is committed to working closely with the Land Development Agency to realise their objectives for the site to the rear of Colbert Station, including examining the feasibility of a bus-only link behind Colbert Station on Roxboro Road and enhanced pedestrian, cycle and bus connectivity to the City Centre.
In regard to the road and street network, the LSMATS provides a number of proposed road schemes. “The NTA, TII, and local authorities will maintain, manage, and operate the existing road infrastructure more efficiently by managing the road network to discourage traffic in built-up areas, and road space in Limerick City and Shannon will be reallocated to prioritise walking, cycling, and public transport use.”
The National Planning Framework 2040 (NPF) envisages that the Limerick-Shannon Metropolitan Area (LSMA) will become the growth engine of the Mid-West Region with projected growth of at least 50 per cent during the period up to 2040.
Anne Graham, Chief Executive Officer, National Transport Authority, said: “The Strategy we are presenting today is a potential game-changer for the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area. We want to make it easier for people to get around by reducing congestion, and to make this place more attractive for people who live here, work here, or who want to visit here.
“We also want to make sure that more and more people will have a sustainable alternative when it comes to transport.
“The Public Consultation begins today, so I would urge everybody to look at our plans and participate in the process. That’s the best way for us to get a good understanding as to what people are responding positively to, and what concerns there may be.”