Saša Novak Uí Chonchúir

Green Party Councillor for Limerick City North

Candidate in Local Elections on 7th June

Shannon Bridge and Mobility

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While there was a lot of frustration at first with how long it took for the mobility plan to come to life in Limerick, especially seeing other cities and towns around Ireland take the lead, once it did, there were some very positive measures in it. There were some measures that turned out to be less perfect, even dangerous, some seemed wasteful, and people were rightly worried and outraged. That doesn’t mean, however, that all the measures should be stopped either now or at the end of August. The Mobility plan suggests the measures are intended to run until the end of August. It seems now that the pandemic intends to stay around longer.

The DMURS Interim Advice Note invites us to continue with the short term measures into the medium and long term as they are an early and unexpected head start to our long term goals as a society.

How we move around affects almost every aspect of our lives, our health, where we live, where we shop, where we go to school, where we work, where we build houses, what type of transport infrastructure we plan to build, how our local economy recovers. Streets aren’t just for people, they are also for small business recovery.

LSMATS, DMURS, National Cycle Manual, NTA advice, Green Schools are all talking about sustainable safety and the modal shift. We cannot achieve the modal shift if we don’t provide safe infrastructure for all modes. Harnessing the positive developments and successful traffic calming measures achieved under Section 38 of the 1994 Road Traffic Act during the pandemic, and improving the less successful measures, is what we’re told to do by different Departments and agencies. Observe, review, adapt.

INTERIM ADVICE NOTE – Covid 19 Pandemic Response

Once the kids go back to school and the parents back to work in the city, instead of taking their only safe cycle lane from the Northside into town, let’s extend it out. Pilot it. One way we can go as far as Arthur’s Quay (all section 38 traffic calming measures), and on the other side along the Condell and Clonmacken Roads. This way we reinforce the existing connection between a big part of Caherdavin, North Circular Road, Greystones/Clareview/Mayorstone triangle and the city centre. The paint is already on those roads, we can secure it by installing wands and orcas (or are they called delineator bollards?). Then we count and test the principle of induced demand (going by the Shannon Bridge lane the induced demand principle applies to cycle lanes too!). Finally, we put in for planning.

The formula is simple. When you provide cycle lanes that are safe and reliable (i.e. they don’t disappear at the end of the month), people start using them, they buy or fix their bikes, invest in rain gear. When more local people start using the bike and the cycle lanes for their daily commute it means they are not using their cars. Which means less cars on the roads. Which means less traffic and congestion for those who absolutely need to drive because they are coming from further away or have a mobility issue. Everyone benefits from this.

I have learned in my short time on this planet and my much shorter tenure as a local councillor that there is a genuine fear of change in people and that there are people who use and abuse that fear.

We need to listen to every voice, but we must not succumb to the fear, we must take it on board and learn. There are many positive voices out there who are happy that changes are happening. They don’t necessarily come out to say it, they just go on with life and embrace the little improvements to it. It is our duty to listen to all different voices, and it’s our duty to make decisions based in science and facts.