Wide ranging measures from pedestrianisation to facilitating restaurant tables on streets being trialled to get Limerick moving and people visiting are proposed in Limerick City and County Council's 'Mobility Plan - Guiding Limerick Through Covid-19'.
Limerick City and County Council is to turn Covid-19 restrictions into an opportunity to trial a range of innovative measures aimed at getting the city centre moving in the short-term and with an eye on its long-term transformation into a top urban destination.
The Council is to embrace what will be, at least, the short-term new order with a range of Summer 2020 measures by transforming Limerick into a pop-up urban playground for citizens, allowing performance spaces and programming bespoke activities unique to Limerick.
These will range from pedestrianising some of the city centre, to facilitating hospitality and other retailers bring their businesses out on the streets and help them trade through the social distancing restrictions that will apply as they resume operations.
The measures will be introduced along Catherine Street, Denmark Street, Upper Denmark Street, Robert Street, Howley’s Quay and Nicholas Street and will, in some instances, involve removal of parking, local footpath widening, partial road closures and temporary traffic management. The programme is also being front loaded by intensive street cleaning, with a number of streets already completed.
A number of measures are proposed to improve safety for cyclists commuting from the suburbs including the extension of the Condell Road cycle path across Shannon Bridge down to Howley’s Quay, increasing cycle parking in the city centre and identifying suitable Park and Walk sites adjacent to the city centre.
Other measures being considered to give businesses an edge as they return through the phases by encouraging the public back into the city centre will include animations from 3D street art to creating giant games and pop-up street spectacle events; activities such as a food trail to support ‘alfresco’ dining and drive in gigs and movies; events such as night-time markets, street performances, supporting theatre and other venues as well as investigating using city boardwalks as street performance spaces.
An advisory speed limit of 25kph in the core city centre will be introduced to make them safer for pedestrians. It is proposed that measures will be examined to make more pedestrian friendly changes and to provide space for local open-air events across Summer 2020.
All measures proposed, which have been discussed by Councillors and then developed in conjunction with Limerick Chamber and other stakeholders, will meet and adapt to the public health guidelines in place as we move through the different phases of easing the Covid-19 restrictions.
A public consultation period of two weeks begins today (29 May 2020) until 12 June 2020. Members of the public are being asked for their feedback and suggestions by emailing email@example.com, which will then be fed back to the elected members and other stakeholders for review.
While initial plans are focusing on the city centre, Limerick City and County Council is looking at ways at drawing up similar plans for our county towns.
The National Transport Authority is also involved in the programme and has committed funding to the proposals.
Announcing the programme, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Michael Sheahan said that the short-term measures have the long-term potential to further unwrap the unique culture and welcome in the city and county. “We know the culture and warmth of our people, the fantastic offering from our hospitality sector, the incredibly rich history that exists here but we do need to unwrap and reveal it more. We’ve been moving towards that over recent years as we seek to capitalise on an unprecedented level of city centre investment that’s underway and in the offing but this will allow us to trial some really innovative measures to accelerate it.”
“This will help get the city centre moving again as we re-emerge into this new world, for however short or long that will exist. We are re-imagining what Limerick can become and being creative and innovative in doing so.”
Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council Dr Pat Daly said that the intention of the programme is for creative experiences to be authentic to Limerick, in a way that resonates with its people, boosts the local economy and helps keep the community heart beating. “Across our public health and economic response to Covid-19, we’ve done really well in Limerick and the wider region. We’ve been collaborative, innovative but at all times stuck with the programme - the HSE guidelines. This is no different. We have looked at each phase of the easing of restrictions and pushed ourselves to see what we can do to support business and attract people back in, while at the same time respecting all restrictions through the different phases.”
“There’s definitely an opportunity to look at things differently, at what our city and county towns can be in the future and an opportunity we are embracing. As the country steps back out into this new world, we want to ensure Limerick has an edge and that our city and towns are desirable, safe and fun places to live, work, shop and visit.”
In line with the national easing of restrictions, animation and promotion of footfall in urban areas can commence from Phase 3 of the Roadmap, with animations being installed from 29th June. Activities will commence from 20th July and events from 10th August. The full programme developed for animating the city will be listed on 29th June on Limerick.ie.
Download the draft 'Mobility Plan - Guiding Limerick Through Covid-19' here.