Disused rail lines could play key role in new transport plan

Cllr Joe Leddin, Labour Party. Photo: Cian Reinhardt

LABOUR Party councillor Joe Leddin has called for the establishment of a Citizens Assembly as part of the upcoming consultation on the draft Limerick Shannon Transport Strategy.

According to Cllr Leddin, who is chair of the Council’s Transport SPC (Strategic Policy Committee), the assembly would provide meaningful engagement with members of the public, academia, business and community organisations.

A private meeting of councillors and officials is scheduled for 3pm this Friday to discuss the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Transport Strategy (LSMATS).      

“By hosting a citizens assembly and hearing the views, opinions and suggestions we can then ensure that any agreed transport strategy will best meet the needs of both Limerick and the wider region in terms of enabling people to move about the city in an efficient and reliable manner,” Cllr Leddin explained.

The City West representative also maintains that Limerick’s disused railway network offers significant opportunities in delivering alternative transport options for commuters and must form part of any new regional transport strategy.

“Limerick has a unique opportunity to fundamentally transform how we move people throughout the wider region thus creating a vibrant liveable and accessible city and our existing disused rail network must be a key component of any future strategy.

“Cities and regions that deliver efficient reliable public transport and alternative mobility options such as green routes become magnets for investment and become attractive places to live work and visit.

“Establishing a citizen’s assembly will also enable those with expert views to share their thoughts and allow elected members to hear first-hand for interested groups. We also could retain such an assembly for future draft strategies in other areas of policy,” he told the Limerick Post.

Cllr Leddin strongly believes that all options that can best contribute towards the sustainable development of our city for generations to come must be examined.

“By utilising the existing old railway lines that cross throughout the city we can deliver a superb modern safe cycle route and a light rail network that would significantly increase accessibility into the city.

“The current disused rail network on the western side of the city travels from Mungret through Dooradoyle, Ballykeeffe and Kilteragh estate before crossing over the Childer’s Road on route to Colbert Station.

“Limerick and suburban areas like Mungret are 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.

“While Park & Ride sites are a key component of a future transport strategy together with dedicated bus and cycle lanes the real game-changer for Limerick lies in the redevelopment of our railway network that could if we are ambitious include rail connectivity to Shannon Airport,” he concluded.