A NEW campaign has been launched calling on Limerick City and County Council to provide safe, usable space across the city for people to shop, exercise and commute by walking and cycling during the Covid-19 crisis.
Almost 700 signatures have been secured since the #WeNeedSpace campaign was launched last weekend by the Limerick Cycling Campaign, the Limerick Cycle Bus and the Irish Pedestrian Network.
The Limerick Cycling Campaign and the Irish Pedestrian Network propose that while motor traffic is reduced, space on streets must be reallocated to walking, running, cycling and playing to ensure safe social distancing within communities – a reallocation that is already taking place internationally.
The campaign is calling on the council to reallocate road space to people walking and cycling – widen footpaths to three metres and introduce a circular segregated cycle route in and around the city encompassing either Shannon Bridge or Sarsfield Bridge using cones, bollards, planters and signage.
They are also calling for pedestrian signal crossings to be automated during daylight hours and increasing pedestrian crossing times across the city and to temporarily lower speed limits to 30 kph in urban and suburban areas.
Limerick Cycling Campaign chairman Conor Buckley said it now looks as if the general public will be living with some level of restrictions for a while yet.
“It is important that it is safe for people to get out and complete their essential tasks by foot or by bike while also getting fresh air and exercise.
“The lack of facilitation of space is deterring people from getting much-needed exercise,” he added.
Meanwhile, Limerick North Green Party Councillor Saša Novak has welcomed the statements made last week by Limerick Chamber chief executive Dee Ryan, who also called for more walking and cycling space.
“I was one of ten councillors who wrote to Council chief executive Pat Daly last month asking for social distancing to be made safer abd easier in Limerick City. Currently that means safe exercise, shopping and going to work. In the next few weeks that will mean being able to support local businesses.
Regrettably, our call was rejected.
“It is becoming clearer that if we want an economic recovery and a revival of our city centre we need to give people space to move around safely. Once safe to do so, we also need to enable people to sit down and enjoy a drink or lunch at a safe distance from others.
“There are many zero or low-cost measures that can transform our city into a safer environment for a speedy post-Covid recovery.
For more on the campaign visit my.uplift.ie/petitions/weneedspace.