Disused rail lines could become new cycle network

Cllr Joe Leddin, at the Old railway Line at the Mungret Picture brendan gleeson

LIMERICK City and County Council has been urged to consider submitting a proposal under the new National Development Plan to convert disused railway lines into new cycle routes.

Labour councillor Joe Leddin has submitted a motion for the September Metropolitan meeting seeking the support of fellow members to advance discussions on the project. The City West representative is also requesting that officials in the local authority’s Limerick Smarter Travel department consider submitting a proposal to convert disused railway lines into new cycle routes.

“Project 2040, which was recently launched by Government has allocated €2 billion in funding for innovative urban regeneration projects. Cities that submit viable projects which will reduce traffic congestion, improve the health of citizens while also increasing the attractiveness of the city will be the winners in securing funding,” Cllr Leddin told the Limerick Post.

“We have a dedicated team of officials within the Limerick Smarter Travel department who are doing great work in promoting alternative modes of transport while also mapping out our future transport needs based on population growth and suburban developments.

Previous calls for a light rail system are. I believe, unrealistic premature and costly in the short term. However, by utilising the existing old rail routes and a network that stretches throughout the city we can deliver a superb modern safe cycle network that would significantly increase cycling numbers and accessibility into the city.”

The current disused rail network on the western side of the city travels from Mungret through Dooradoyle, Ballykeefe, the rear of the Crescent Shopping Centre and Kilteragh Estate, before crossing over the Childers Road on route to Colbert Station.

Leddin takes the view that Limerick now has a unique opportunity to capitalise on securing project funding out of a €2 billion urban regeneration fund that is available to projects that are shovel-ready, achievable and in line with Government policy on developing more sustainable transport options.

“Limerick is expanding in terms of both job creation and housing developments and with over 40 per cent of our population under 35 years of age we need to put new infrastructure in place to cater for future transport demands.”

A spokesman for the local authority said that Limerick City and County Council would give consideration to using the existing rail network in the context of the Limerick Transport Strategy (LTS).

“Work on the LTS will commence next month and will be funded by the National Transport Authority,” he explained.