A SHARED traffic surface is one of the key features of the new plan for the O’Connell Street revitalisation unveiled to the public this morning.
Council planners put a series of plans and architects impressions on display at City Hall, and these will remain in place until close of business on Friday, August 23.
The news that cars will not face a ban from Limerick’s main thoroughfare will no doubt be greeted with dismay in some quarters, as this was one of the reasons the initial plans faced opposition.
The proposals show there will be a reduction in the width of the two traffic lanes on the stretch between the Denmark and Cecil Street junction, with a resultant increase in footpath widths.
One of the southbound private vehicle lanes in O’Connell Street will be replaced with a southbound bus lane on the stretch between William Street and Cecil Street.
Meanwhile, a shared surface is being proposed from north of Denmark Street to south of Roches Street. A shared surface is being planned outside the International Rugby Experience, which is currently in the process of being developed.
Council planners are also proposing the laying of street furniture in O’Connell Street, which will include seating areas, bicycle stands and lighting, as well as features such as sculptures, pedestrian plazas and water installations.
A tree planting programme will be kicked off, with 11 trees proposed to be introduced beside the planned rugby museum. It’s anticipated overall in the scheme, 22 trees will be planted.
Between the trees, seated areas and bicycle parking areas will be provided, with the hope these will act to separate the road and the pedestrian area.
Other features of the scheme include the relocation of parking and loading spaces from O'Connell Street to adjacent side streets, with the speed limit on the main street cut to 30km pr hour.
A central plaza at Thomas Street beside Brown Thomas will offer the potential for a future artwork to be installed to create a further focal point for pedestrian gathering.
The project is future-proofed as the street can be quickly adapted when the Transport Strategy for Limerick is completed.
An interactive surface-level water feature is also proposed opposite the Augistinian Church.
A neew bus stop is to be provided at Patrick Street – this will move from the stop in place at the church.
The plans are available to be viewed from today up to close of business on Friday, August 23.
Maria Donoghue, who is the head of the design and delivery department at council said: "We want citizens, businesses and groups to take advantage of the enhanced public realm we are offering – O’Connell Street will become a destination, not a thoroughfare. With the wider footpaths, high quality street furniture, reduced traffic volumes and enhanced landscaping, this will become a more comfortable environment for Limerick’s citizens and visitors to animate this new backdrop with the vibrancy we want it to facilitate, and participate in urban life such as on-street cafes and outdoor exhibitions or performances.”
"Following significant consultation with key stakeholders and the general public the proposals for O’Connell Street have evolved to ensure that there is the flexibility to adapt to the inevitable changes in future movement and use patterns.”
As well as visiting the council premises, the application will be available to inspect online at the local authority’s new consultation platform at https://mypoint.limerick.ie.
Submissions and observations from members of the public may be submitted in writing by 4pm on Friday, September 6, 2019 to the planning and environmental department in Limerick’s council offices at Dooradoyle, while the authority's new consultation platform will also be able to take submissions.