Warning over pedestrian plan for Limerick’s main street

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

"Pedestrianisation only works well when it is terribly well done" warned Helen O'Donnell
ANY pedestrianisation of O’Connell Street must not be done in a “piecemeal” fashion, the chairperson of the City Business Association has warned.

ANY pedestrianisation of O’Connell Street must not be done in a “piecemeal” fashion, the chairperson of the City Business Association has warned.

Helen O’Donnell was speaking after plans to pedestrianise Limerick’s main thoroughfare were put back on the table by City and County Council executives.

At last week’s Transport and Travel meeting, councillors were told of plans – worth around €5m – to resurrect the pedestrianisation of the street, initially between Roches Street and Arthur’s Quay, but later towards Patrick Street and Denmark Street.

Speaking after talking to members of the business association, Ms O’Donnell said: “Pedestrianisation only works well when it is terribly well done. It is something which would only work in the context of the completion of the whole city project. It is not something which can be done piecemeal.”

She said while banning cars from the main streets of cities has been done in many other urbanisations, Limerick is different due to its unique heritage.

“You must remember our streets are incredibly wide. We are very cognisant that we have a very unique Georgian heritage from the Crescent down to O’Connell Street, so it would have to be very well done to work. You cannot just decide to go ahead [with this] without enormous planning and consultation with traders,” she told the Limerick Leader.

The businesswoman insisted she is not “opposed to pedestrianisation”, noting it has worked well in Thomas Street and Bedford Row.

“But if you have pedestrianisation you need proximity to car parks. You have to make it easy - you want people to come in. The road network has to work. There are a huge number of things to take into account. In principle, it could be good, but only when it is planned incredibly well,” she concluded.

Since the Limerick Leader revealed the plans to pedestrianise O’Connell Street last week, there has been considerable discussion on our Facebook page.

Gary Kirwan, of Corbally, wrote: “Good idea in concept not in reality, traffic into the city is already shockingly bad at peak times, they just shot down plans that would alleviate traffic in and out of the Corbally area now they want to do this, that would just gridlock that side of the city for example. Where will the cars go?”

David O’Sullivan, meanwhile, described it as a “stupid idea”.

“How about stopping double parking on William St during the day, it’s ridiculous,” he added.

Stephen McMahon said pedestrianising: “The area from William Street to Roches Street would really work well. [It would] dovetail nicely with Thomas street and Bedford Row.”