A NUMBER of car parking spaces in Limerick City are set to be transformed into “urban sanctuaries”, courtesy of a Limerick Smarter Travel initiative.
The travel and transportation department of Limerick City and County Council has been awarded €7,000 by the European Commission to design and promote a new type of urban infrastructure, called a ‘Park and Picnic Pod’.
The transportable pods will provide inbuilt planting, seating, small tables and bicycle parking in empty car-parking spaces outside four city centre cafés.
It is one of 19 projects around Europe to receive funding under the European Commission’s Sustainable Urban Mobility campaign.
Limerick Smarter Travel project manager, Pat O’Neill said the pilot programme is part of a series of initiatives being implemented by Limerick Smarter Travel to promote greener and more sustainable ways of getting around the city.
He said they are now examining suitable areas in the city and will be talking with cafe owners to take over a small portion of Limerick’s some 6,000 car parking spaces.
Mr O’Neill added that they will still be used for parking - albeit for bicycles and not for cars, to encourage more people to ditch four wheels and cycle into the city.
“It’s a very interesting concept that has been successful in other areas across Europe, such as Denmark,” he told the Limerick Leader.
“These Pods support sustainable urban mobility by providing combined bicycle parking, seating for walkers, and built in planting and tables for recreation and coffee. They will be conveniently located in car-parking spaces and they will be maintained by nearby urban cafés in partnership with the local authority. For the cafés in question, these pods will provide additional seating space for customers,” he said. The design of the pods also allows them to be removable and transportable so that they can be adapted to various locations.