Council says pedestrianisation 'not only option' for Limerick's O'Connell Street

Council says pedestrianisation 'not only option' for Limerick's O'Connell Street

The council revealed this concept drawing for O'Connell Street earlier in the year

LIMERICK city's main thoroughfare may not be pedestrianised, the local authority has admitted.

A spokesperson for Limerick City and County Council said despite high profile calls for O’Connell Street to be closed to cars, “no decision” has yet been made on the new look of the main street.

Some €4.5m has been granted in EU funding, money which will be matched locally for the “remodelling”.

But despite long discussions from both councillors and officials, there are still no plans in place.

And when there are, it does not necessarily mean these will see cars banned.

“No preferred design solution has been decided. No decision has been taken on any option for the remodelling, and that includes traffic management operations and pedestrianisation,” they said.

The spokesperson added an appropriate balance will need to be found between the various travel modes, “be they pedestrian, cyclist, public transport, delivery vehicles and private cars”.

The project remains on track for 2018, and the Limerick Leader understands that – contrary to reports elsewhere – there is no delay to this.

It was anticipated the junction with Roches Street down to the junction with William Street would be pedestrianised, and the overall renewal project starting at the Denmark Street junction stretching up to Barrington Street.

Council bosses hope the work can commence early next year, with an expected construction period of between 12 and 18 months. A minimum of 50 construction jobs will be created, the local authority has previously stated.

Cllr John Gilligan has called for the local authority to buy and convert the derelict Dunnes Stores at Honan’s Quay – closed in 2008 – to be turned into a multi-storey car park.

But it is understood relations are bad between the council and the retailer, which still owns the building.

Reports elsewhere have also suggested the land was rezoned in order to ensure retail cannot take place there under the Limerick 2030 plan.

While this idea was floated by previous economic director Tom Enright in 2013, rezoning of the land never actually happened.

There were hopes this building could have served as a Diaspora centre, but following the council’s purchase of the Cleeve’s Factory at the North Circular Road, these have faded. 

The council is planning to demolish the tax office at Sarsfield House, and create a massive green space at city’s front.

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