Limerick is flat, compact, with wide open streets. Despite this, and its designation as a demonstration city for Smarter Travel between 2012 and 2016, Limerick is still well below the national average for everyday utility cycling. Why is this? We believe one of the key factors for the lack of progress is the absence of a ratified Cycling Network Development Plan.
Limerick Cycling Campaign has decided not to participate in Bike Week this year. We believe that if we as a city are to be serious about increasing the modal share of cycling, we need to enable and promote cycling in equal measures. We are very unhappy with the recent piecemeal delivery of cycling infrastructure in Limerick. Projects on Parnell Street, Wickham Street, Coonagh Cross and Davis Street are well below par in what would be expected from a growing progressive city. We are nervously awaiting the revised plans for O’Connell Street. We do support the initiative of bike week, however, we feel there is significant work to be done locally to enable utility cycling before we promote cycling in an effective way.
Limerick Smarter Travel
When we have built quality cycling infrastructure in the past, it has worked. We just have to look at the number of people cycling on the river path to the university and the surrounding area to see that. However, the lack of a ratified cycling plan has stumped the development of other ambitious routes. A 2015 study carried out by Arup commissioned by the local authority after the Limerick Smarter Travel period states that cycling infrastructure has been provided in a ‘relatively piece-meal fashion and does not yet constitute a cycling network linking major trip attractors.’ If we fail connect major attractions, schools, colleges, places of work, hospitals, tourism locations, shopping centres, libraries, how do we expect to increase modal share?
Transports Strategy for Limerick
We are aware that a transport strategy for Limerick is to be delivered this year, however despite requests, we have failed to secure key consultation and delivery dates for this vital project. Meanwhile, we are remodelling our key city arteries at great expense and with very little, if any, safe cycling infrastructure included.
Plan before you build – It costs less!
Let’s stop spending taxpayers’ money on ineffective promotion and piecemeal cycling infrastructure until we develop an ambitious, coherent and safe utility cycling network plan and delivery strategy. You wouldn’t build a house without a plan, so how can we be expected to build a thriving city without one? It’s time to smarten up, and design the city we deserve.
Transport not sport
Promotional events that lean towards weekend sport cycling, novelty cycling and the dangers of cycling around trucks will do little to increase modal share for the citizens of the city. We are asking Limerick City Council to provide a safe, connected and coherent cycling network plan and phased delivery strategy. When we have a plan, we can promote it.
We look forward to working with Limerick City and County Council and the newly elected public representatives on how we can make Limerick accessible to cyclists both young and old.
We need action now! We need a plan
Enable cycling, then promote cycling