Limerick council’s ‘regressive’ plans for South Circular Road

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Limerick Solicitor and Environment Trust Ireland President Michelle Hayes

PLANS by the local authority for segregated cycle lanes and traffic restrictions along the South Circular Road have been described as regressive and draconian by Environmental Trust Ireland.

The plans were recently unveiled by Limerick City and County Council’s Active Travel team for the transformation of the route between the South Circular Road and the city centre.

Part of the plan calls for segregated cycle lanes, shared carriageway and footpath upgrades/reconstruction starting on the R526 (north-east of Ballykeefe Roundabout) along South Circular Road, running down Henry Street and finishing at Mill Lane in Limerick City centre, with dedicated pedestrian and cycle crossing facilities throughout.

Traffic restrictions are also proposed to include vehicular access from the South Circular Road to city centre diverted to Ballinacurra Road.

This will also include the removal of the right turns from Ballinacurra Road to South Circular Road, Lifford Avenue to South Circular Road, removal of left turn from Boreen an Tobair to South Circular Road, extension of the existing one way system on South Circular Road to the junction with Clontarf Place, and creation of one way streets to include Quin Street, St Gerard Street, and Mill Lane.

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Environmental Trust Ireland President Michelle Hayes this week hit out at the proposals, claiming the development is pandering to the whim of a small minority.

She feels they have “disproportionate influence in the Council relative to their size and minority viewpoint”.

Ms Hayes believes that these proposals are to the severe detriment of the many who reside and conduct business in the areas involved. She has urged councillors to reject the proposal outright.

“Instead of promoting unity, social cohesion, inclusion, togetherness, wellbeing, and a pluralistic society, the proposal is divisive and the attempts to unilaterally impose it upon affected communities has caused enormous and unnecessary upset and distress,” Ms Hayes commented.

The Environmental Trust Ireland President argued that the proposal to carry out development works commencing north-east of Ballykeeffe roundabout to the city on R526, Henry Street, and Mill Lane is premature and not properly thought out.

“There have been no adequate or proper impact assessments conducted and no adequate or proper surveys conducted,” she said.

“Some reports and assessments obtained are inadequate or materially and fundamentally flawed and are not in compliance with EU and national law requirements.”

Ms Hayes is also of the view that removal of parking spaces on the South Circular Road to deprive vulnerable people of their independence, including people with impaired mobility and those with arthritis, is a cruel and blinkered vision, saying the move is “illogical, defeats climate emergency response, and will inevitably result in greater green house gas emissions.

“This will create more backup of traffic on New Street, more backup of fumes in a residential area in complete juxtaposition of what it purports to do,” she concluded.