WHILE welcoming the final publication of the Limerick-Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (LSMATS), Limerick Chamber has expressed concerns about implementation and operational aspects of the plan
The LSMATS sets out a framework for investment in transport for the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area for the next 20 years and the final strategy has been approved by the National Transport Authority (NTA).
Limerick Chamber chief executive Dee Ryan said they supported the LSMATS goals of improving connectivity across the metro area while reducing transport emissions over the lifetime of this strategy.
“Environmentally friendly transport options must be made easier and more affordable. Getting people out of cars and on to buses, bikes or footpaths will improve our traffic congestion and overall accessibility and enjoyment of our city,” Ms Ryan explained.
“We urge Limerick City and County Council to fast track delivery on the areas that they have direct responsibility for such as the roll out of connected, segregated walking and cycling infrastructure across our county.
“They should also plan for sustainable and age-friendly transport links in the parts of our city where we want to see greater residential, commercial, educational and healthcare development take place in the coming decade.”
Commenting on specific aspects of the strategy, Ms Ryan said; “We welcome the inclusion of traffic management and road safety improvements at the Mackey Roundabout. It is imperative to provide safe access to employment and educational nodes in Castletroy. We are delighted that our views and representations on behalf of members were heard. However, it is important that these works are implemented as a matter of urgency.
“We continue to disagree with the NTA on the proposed operation of O’Connell Street as a two-way bus corridor which we think will detrimentally impact on the enjoyment and safety of this pedestrian priority space and detract from the striking architecture on O’Connell Street.
“Long term, particularly given the proposed frequency of buses, one only needs to look at the Quays in Dublin to see how bus congestion can impact on movement and enjoyment of the city. We will continue to press for alternate bus route selection in public consultations on Bus Connects next year.
“We also have concerns over proposals for Sarsfield Bridge which could have a significant impact on access to the city,” she added.
Chamber chief economist Seán Golden said the N21/N69 development is a key route to facilitate the ambitious plans for Shannon Foynes Port and the focus should be on advancing the road project in conjunction with the rail plans.
“In terms of the rail freight project to Foynes, we are disappointed not to see this expanded to include passenger rail which could service Dooradoyle, Raheen and University Hospital Limerick.
“It is hugely important that improved services to Shannon Airport are timed with arrival and departures. While regional connectivity is important for Shannon, so too is inter-county connectivity where people from outside the region can travel to the airport at appropriate times.
“There has been no change to the underlying population growth assumptions used as part of the LSMATS process. This is very disappointing given the significant growth outlined for the suburbs versus the city centre.
“Under the employment population projections Moyross was set to decrease by 55 jobs, however, Moyross will now have a train station so would expect employment to increase. There appears to be a mismatch in that regard.
“Now that the LSMATS has been published, Limerick Chamber understands the local authority can progress a traffic management and delivery plan for the city. We ask that this is advanced as a priority matter and that the business community will continue to be engaged,” Mr Golden concluded.