Councillor hits out at ‘waste of money’ cycle lanes as two thirds of Limerick people favour more

Cllr Slattery hit out at 'waste of money' cycle lanes.

A LIMERICK councillor has expressed sheer disbelief that three quarters of Limerick people are in favour of creating more cycling infrastructure around the city and county, even if it means less space for other traffic.

This comes as figures published in a first of its kind survey by the National Transport Authority (NTA) this week showed that 76 per cent of Limerick residents were supportive of building cycle tracks physically separated from traffic and pedestrians, even if it means there would be less room on the road for motorists.

Speaking to the Limerick Post, Fianna Fáil councillor Catherine Slattery expressed shock that the figures were so high, and hit out at two cycle lane schemes in Limerick City that she considered a “waste of money”.

“I pass up and down the Childers Road a couple of times a day, I’d say twice a week you’d see someone biking it,” Cllr Slattery insisted.

“It’s a complete waste of money, people aren’t using it. What should have happened there is that they should have moved back the footpath and put the cycle lane on the footpath.

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“All they’ve done on the Childers Road is cause traffic chaos in the mornings.”

The City East representative further claimed that the newly installed cycle lanes on the Hyde Road are a “waste of money” and were installed without consulting residents.

“The council went through what was going to be done there, raised tabletops, narrowing of the roads, but not once did they mention cycle lanes,” the Fianna Fáil councillor claimed.

“But what happened then is once that scheme started, to my knowledge, the Green Party flashed the money for cycle lanes, and cycle lanes were stuck in there without any proper consultation to the residents.”

The recent NTA survey also revealed that 52 per cent of residents walk, cycle, or wheel (by wheelchair or mobility scooter) at least five times a week, with 15 per cent of residents saying they cycle once a week.

The newly-published Walking and Cycling Index is the largest of its kind completed in Ireland and was made in collaboration with Limerick City and County Council and Clare County Council. It surveyed people living in the Metropolitan area of Limerick City, as well as areas covering Clonlara to Patrickswell and Shannon.

The survey included over 1,100 residents over the age of 16, and didn’t focus only on those who walk, wheel, or cycle.

61 per cent of respondents said that they were in favour of additional investment in walking and cycling infrastructure, and 49 per cent said they would like to walk or wheel more in the future. 34 per cent expressed a desire to cycle more.

The NTA report also found that those who do walk or cycle daily count for the equivalent of 32,000 cars removed from Limerick roads.

While Councillor Slattery said that generally she was in favour of cycle lanes being installed, they needed to be put in places that were “suitable” and that more “joined-up thinking” was needed.

“Other places the cycle lanes work perfectly fine. I’m living on the Old Cork Road, they have cycle lanes at the Childers Road, they have them out to the Parkway, but they’ve nothing up on the Old Cork Road for kids to cycle down to meet these cycle lanes,” she said.

“If they’re going to put in cycle lanes, do it right, connect the housing estates and stuff like that to these cycle lanes. But certainly I feel that the cycle lanes on the Childers Road were a total waste of money, and the same on the Hyde Road, a total waste of money in my view.”