Cllr Daniel Butler said LSMATS 'lacks ambition'
LIMERICK Metropolitan Fine Gael councillors have issued a joint statement expressing real concern about the initial draft of the new transport strategy.
Cllrs Daniel Butler, Olivia O'Sullivan, Sarah Kiely, Michael Murphy, Michael Sheahan and Dan McSweeney say the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (LSMATS) document is to bring Limerick to a new and exciting future 20 years ahead and should offer ambitious targets to match our ambitions as a city.
Cllr Butler said this strategy document will have a very significant impact on the future of Limerick and, "It is clear to us the complete lack of ambition shown by the NTA in this draft strategy".
"By 2040 our predicted growth is nearly 50% to around 300,000 people and this strategy fails to provide transport infrastructure to accommodate that. It does not deliver the great modal shift our government has clearly set out as a target for the country.
"It fails on ambition, it fails on detail, it fails on innovation and it ultimately fails the current and future citizens of Limerick," stated the group leader, Cllr Butler.
Metropolitan Cathaoirleach Sarah Kiely said targeted growth for cycling over the 20 year period is only a doubling, to just over 4%.
"It is hardly ambitious. If we want to see a real modal shift and a greener Limerick then cycling has a huge part to play in that and these targets really will not achieve our goal.
"There is also no clear indication of the use of the rail corridors for greenways or urban cycle corridors besde rail use which continues to be an untapped resource for our city," said Cllr Kiely.
Castleconnell native, Cllr Michael Murphy said: "The rail proposals show no planning for a future Limerick of 300,000 with development only to be concentrated around the enhancement of existing regional connectivity with no plans for additional regional connectivity.
"This includes to no rail connection to Shannon, improvement of services and timing through Castleconnell Station and indeed Nenagh and Birdhill or the development of our present rail links into and around Limerick City," said Cllr Murphy.
Cllr Olivia O’Sullivan, of Limerick City North, said: "No light rail system, not even the possibility of one, for our city now or at any time 20 years into the future is mentioned in the document which shows the complete lack of ambition the NTA has for our city.
"One of the stated reasons is the cost of the system which is shortsighted and indicates this plan is to deliver a strategy within budget rather than a strategy for what will be our needs into 2040."
Former Mayor Cllr Michael Sheahan said the park and ride suggestions have merit as we build towards 2040 but there is no realistic location being identified.
"The facilities have a huge potential to be used to reduce traffic coming into our city freeing up space for other modes of transport and making commutes more pleasant for the many people who come to work, shop and socialise in our city centre.
"I welcome the enhancement of bus service accessibility but there is no further information given as to which traffic corridors are likely to be affected," said Cllr Sheahan.
Patrickswell based councillor Dan McSweeney said: "Bus strategy does not offer much clarity or innovation as to how it will be delivered with no consideration for direct services from Raheen to Annacotty or Caherdavin to Ballysimon in an east-west or north-south axis targeting peak time traffic periods. No consideration for rural parts of the metropolitan area such as Patrickswell in the west or Castleconnell in the east.’
In conclusion, Cllr Butler said: "As a group we are clear in our ambition for Limerick and we are clear that this strategy does not match that."