A look at how the Parkway Valley/Horizon Mall site may appear once the development is complete
METROPOLITAN mayor Daniel Butler has called for an express, limited-stop bus service between the University of Limerick, Horizon Mall and the city centre.
In a week where fresh plans were revealed for the derelict Dublin Road site, which could see two hotels, an office complex and 191 apartments, many people have questioned whether the current traffic infrastructure can handle it.
It has led to calls for improved public transport on the Castletroy/Limerick corridor.
There were reports this week of the four-kilometre journey between the city centre and the college taking almost two hours.
Public transport campaigner Thomas Bibby pointed out this is “slower than walking pace”.
Cllr Butler said if the new development in Horizon Mall is to succeed, public transport must be provided.
"There is a desperate need for a direct bus link from the Castletroy area right to the city centre. So a shuttle service almost, at peak times in particular, is crucial. It's a key corridor so we need to have a fast and reliable service.
"Bus Eireann needs to consider direct, limited stop services from north to south, east to west, and in particular from the Castletroy area, with the growth it's experiencing,” he said, arguing there should be just three stops between Castletroy and the city centre.
Mr Bibby welcomed this suggestion – but feels there needs to be a dedicated bus lane on the Childers Road.
Straw poll of two people taking the bus to work on UL campus this morning, both journeys of ~7km: 1 hour 20 mins (1 bus); 1 hour 50 mins (2 buses). Slower than walking pace.— Thomas Bibby (@thomasbibby) September 11, 2018
"For the dual carriageway going from the Parkway to the Groody Roundabout, you're talking €100 to put a white line on both sides. Getting from the city to Raheen, if the bus is stuck in UL, it affects you,” he said, referring to the fact the Castletroy bus links with Raheen through the city centre.
Mayor James Collins added: “I don't think government realise the importance of the current traffic situation in Castletroy, which is only going to get worse with further developments. At the time of the Northern Distributor Road we had pushed for better public transport. Rather than spending €85m on this road, we asked could we look at better public transport to service Castletroy and the university in terms of improved buses, public and private."
He said the existing rail network could be utilised to provide rolling stock to Colbert Station, pointing out both the Ennis and Castleconnell line run through the eastern suburbs.
As exclusively revealed the Limerick Leader, the former Parkway Valley site could be set for a huge transformation, with the €90m proposals creating potentially up to 150 permanent roles.
The plans from Singaporean investment vehicle Novelty Icav may also bring a car showroom, a petrol forecourt, and other light industrial units.
The move has been broadly welcomed by the city’s business community who had railed against previous plans for the site which would have seen a massive shopping mall, including Limerick’s first Marks and Spencer.