LIMERICK has beaten 38 other towns and cities across the country to secure a multi-million euro travel investment.
Under the Smarter Travel Demonstration Area scheme, Limerick City and its suburbs are to get €9m to develop a raft of new measures designed to get people out of their cars and onto more environmentally friendly methods of travel.
These include improved cycling ways, secure cycle parking, car sharing clubs, full pedestrianisation of some streets, and lower speed limits in the urban area.
The ambitious plan – put together by the City Council, the County Council and the University of Limerick – will also provide for four transport ‘hubs’ in which the schemes will be focused. These are in Castletroy, Corbally, the city centre, and in the southside regeneration areas.
City manager Tom Mackey said bus lanes are not expected to form part of this scheme, while Mayor Jim Long said he is looking forward to a “cycle orbital route” linking communities across the city.
Minister for Commuter Transport Alan Kelly said what happens in Limerick will now inform transport development for the rest of the country, as the government urges a switch to sustainable methods of getting from A to B. “This will have huge pluses for the city. It will change the way transport operates in this city, and the benefits will be felt for generations,” he said.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan welcomed the investment, saying he is looking forward to seeing the full benefits of the programme in the coming years. “The selection of Limerick city as a Smarter Travel Area is great news for the City and will transform the city centre and surrounding area, lead to reduced congestion and support local business and communities. It will further enhance Limerick City and make the City and surrounding areas a very attractive destination for investment in the future,” he said.
*A full version of this story was published in the Limerick Leader, print edition, dated February 4, 2012