On Monday 23rd August 2010, Limerick City councillors are to meet in the Chamber and discuss the proposed Green Route from The Crescent Shopping Centre right through to the city. On part of the route, which runs via Ballinacurra and O’Connell Avenue, the proposal dedicates a lane to public transport – bus, cycling and taxis, significantly increasing the attractiveness of public transport, in line with many other European cities.
The project is worth about €5m to the city and would give work to around 35 people during the construction phase. Further jobs will be provided as public transport investment is continued across the city.
In delivering modern public transport, councillors will be bringing €4.9m investment to the city, some €1.5m of which will be spent on locally-sourced machinery and materials.
“As the price of oil rises, the need for public transport becomes clearer. Councillors can provide better public transport and unlock jobs”, says James Nix of PlanBetter. The environmental groups that form PlanBetter – An Taisce, Friends of the Earth, Friends of the Irish Environment and Feasta – have asked councillors to work together and embrace solutions to make Limerick’s Green Routes a reality.
There is an overnight parking requirement for 70 spaces along Ballinacurra Road but the proposed route though will actually provide 90 spaces. Additional spaces are due to be provided for visitor and occasional parking within the scheme.
Along O’Connell Avenue the Green Route will only operate for 2 hours in the morning and again in the evening, 7.30 to 9.30am and 4.30 to 6.30pm. This means that customers will have access to businesses along the route because disk or park-magic do not have to be displayed until 9.30am. Many premises can be accessed to the rear and the city council has offered to pave these accesses. Remaining issues for businesses can also be resolved. For example, where customers call to B&Bs between 4.30 and 6.30pm a special guest parking permit can be issued to accommodate car-borne visitors. By working creatively, Limerick’s councillors can find the solutions. And while significant numbers of passengers live in Dooradoyle and Raheen, a great many journeys are also made from Ballinacurra and O’Connell Avenue. It has been suggested that the Green Route be built on the Dock Road instead. “This doesn’t make sense,” notes Dan Sullivan of An Taisce, who asks: “would the bus stops be removed from Ballincurra Road and re-located on the Dock Road, moving the bus off a lively residential street to a largely industrial area?”
There are more than 2,500 daily passenger journeys on the Raheen bus routes. PlanBetter asks councillors to think not simply of their own immediate wards but of those living in areas that may become part of the city in the coming months and years. As Dan Sullivan observes: “Limerick will need high quality public transport to ensure future projects such as the Opera Centre are successful. Underground parking can cost up to €30,000 per space to build. The old pattern of development where large parts of cities were hollowed out to make more and more space for car parking is over.
Modern cities need modern public transport networks”. James Nix notes that “the ancillary benefits of Green Routes are often forgotten. The Raheen proposal will improve footpaths along the route, dishing them at junctions to make crossing the road easier for the elderly and mobility impaired, while installing better public lighting at the same time.” The environmental organizations conclude, “There are no problems with the proposals that can’t be resolved. By working to overcome the small number of hiccups that remain councilors can deliver benefits for passengers, employees, businesses and residents – an enormous win-win for the city.”
Contact: Dan Sullivan is An Taisce’s representative in Limerick. 087 6783981 James Nix is co-ordinator of PlanBetter, a joint initiative of 086 8394129
Notes for the editor:
Proposed route runs from O’Connell Avenue to the current city boundary close to the Crescent Shopping Centre
- Daily, there are more than 2,500 passenger journeys on the Raheen bus
- Investment to the city is projected at €4.9m. Job creation approximated at 35 with further employment in follow-on projects.