Saša Novak Uí Chonchúir

Green Party Councillor for Limerick City North

Candidate in Local Elections on 7th June

Green Party Limerick representatives welcome the Guiding Limerick through Covid-19 plan for Limerick City and county

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In mid-April ten councillors from Limerick City signed a letter asking for Limerick City and County Council to provide more space for people walking and cycling in the city to make social distancing possible and safe. The councillors also called for measures to reduce traffic speed in residential areas and across the city centre.

The Council originally rejected all such proposals in their responses. However, following pressure from the public, politicians and interest groups, the Council are beginning to take a new approach to supporting our residents.

A specific suggestion in our joint letter was to “take one lane of traffic from O’Callaghan Strand, the Shannon Bridge, and the south quays, and give them over to people. Access by car would not be affected – everyone could still drive to places on the quays. Critically it would give an unbroken wide path from Sarsfield Bridge, over the Shannon Bridge, along the quays and back under Sarsfield Bridge to Arthur’s Quay park.”

Part of that will now be delivered as following the consultation process the Council will dedicate one lane of traffic on Shannon Bridge and open the shared space on the south quays to pedestrians and cyclists. They will also introduce a 25 km/h speed limit in the core of the city centre and in county towns.

Responding to the decision, Green Party councillor for Limerick City North, Cllr Saša Novak, welcomed the new measures. “I was concerned with the council’s response back in April, but it is encouraging to see that the Council realised and reacted to the very real needs of Limerick people to move around safely. We have huge work in front of us to better serve the people of Limerick through innovative rethinking of the public realm.”

#AndSheCycles

Cllr Saša Novak, who had coordinated the original initiative, added, “I have never seen so many people out cycling and walking at all times of the day. I have heard of people going cycling for the first time in decades. This shows that people of Limerick want and need safe access to their city. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted this. Our residents need safe and practical access to their local shops, their workplaces, and indeed for exercise and mental health. The council’s reconsidered approach will put the city centre in a great position to support the economic recovery as the Covid-19 restrictions start to be eased”.

Cllr Seán Hartigan noted that, “Traffic volumes are down to a fraction of what they were. This is the ideal time to trial new, pedestrian and business friendly measures in Limerick. It’s a chance to see what works in practice and how we can improve Limerick City in the future.” 

Emphasising the need for a swift business recovery of our City, Cllr Hartigan added, “Whenever businesses can begin to reopen, they will need as much support as possible to adapt to social distancing measures which will likely be a part of our lives till at least the end of the summer. I welcome the measure to make some streets car-free during business hours this summer and the introduction of the speed limit of 25 km/h. This will allow enough access for pedestrians and cyclists but also give business owners and patrons sufficient space to operate safely.”