Chapter 7 - Sustainable Mobility and Transport
The NPF, RSES and the Limerick Development Plan 2022-2028 seek to reduce dependency on the private car and secure a shift towards sustainable modes of transport, including walking, cycling and public transport. The importance of integrating safe and convenient alternatives to the car into the design of our local communities will play a primary role in meeting ambitious climate action targets to support the transition to a low carbon society. Caherconlish’s proximity to Limerick City has resulted in a significantly proportion of commuter based car usage travelling outside the settlement on a daily basis. Its ease of access from the N24 and primary access route from Limerick to Mitchelstown and North Cork via the R513 creates traffic congestion through the main axis of the village. The R513 also serves as an important economic role for Limerick linking Limerick to Mitchelstown and East Cork.
Policy SMT P1: Integration of Land Use and Transport Policies - It is policy of the Council to:
Support and facilitate the integration of land use and transportation policies for Caherconlish. The Council will support the development of a sustainable compact settlement, which can be served by sustainable modes of transport to reduce the need for long distance travel, as a means to reduce the impact of climate change.
Policy SMT P2: Transport and Movement - Promotion of Sustainable Patterns of Transport Use - It is policy of the Council to:
Seek to implement in a positive manner, in cooperation with other relevant authorities and agencies, the policies of the NPF, RSES and the Department of Transport’s Active Travel, to encourage more sustainable patterns of travel and greater use of sustainable forms of transport in Caherconlish including public transport, cycling and walking.
7.2.1 Existing Public Transport Provision
Caherconlish is served by a number of public transport routes. These include daily provision into Limerick Bus Station and additional links to Galbally and Tipperary Town. Designated (informal) bus stops are provided for outside the former Library, outside Mace on the village Square and on Barrack Street. In addition, a Transport for Ireland (TFI) Local Link also serves the village providing an important local public transport link for the hinterland of the village directly to Dooradoyle. In line with national transport and planning policy, the Council welcomes any improvement to public transport services and infrastructure within the lifetime of this Plan and will work with transport providers to enhance provision in Caherconlish.
In October 2022, the National Transport Authority announced the provision of a new route serving Hospital and Mitchelstown and into Limerick City. The new service is an important link that will also serve Caherconlish six times daily. Although this service has improved connectivity into the City and onto North Cork, public transport services to and from Caherconlish are still, to a degree, limited and the times and allowance for connections limits the quality of service. Improvements to connectivity for the daily commute to the wider area are encouraged by the Council to improve accessibility to the services, employment and educational opportunities from Caherconlish. It is also important that those in the rural areas surrounding the village, are connected into the existing services. In this regard, the Draft Plan supports the National Transport Authorities Connecting Ireland Rural Mobility Plan, with the aim of increasing connectivity, particularly for people living outside major cities and towns.
The key public transport objectives for Caherconlish are to improve the existing bus services to encourage a shift to sustainable transport modes.
Objective SMT O1: Public Transport Provision: It is an objective of the Council to:
Support and facilitate implementation of an integrated, multi-modal and accessible public transport network in Caherconlish and its hinterland, including any investment in the public transport by service providers in Caherconlish.
7.3.1 Existing Walking/Cycling Infrastructure
There are currently no cycle paths in Caherconlish. Main Street experiences high levels of traffic with some on street parking, while High Street experiences high levels of on street car parking. Given the compact nature of the settlement, cycling to increase connectivity and permeability for active travel usage and additional cycling infrastructure be developed.
Fig. 7.1 Access to Village from Beary's Cross
Much of the settlement has the provision of pedestrian infrastructure. The newly established link from the School to the Creamery Walk is particularly popular with local residents. There are two pedestrian crossings within the village, one on the approach road to the village at Ceol na Habhann and a second one on the R513 at the junction at Lynch’s Corner. The receiving environment, particularly on Main Street experiences a large number of vehicles and HGV’s, using the road network daily creating a less attractive space for walking and cycling. Additional infrastructural linkages and improvements to connectivity, particularly around the village square would create a safer environment for pedestrians. Enhancements to pedestrian facilities, such as a connection to the GAA pitch and the Millenium Centre, are supported in the plan.
7.3.2 Proposed Walking/Cycling Provision
The key walking and cycling objectives for Caherconlish is to create an environment conducive to active travel and enable and encourage a shift to sustainable transport modes. A number of key actions have been identified as part of the Draft Local Area Plan to be implemented within the lifetime of the plan. These are provided for in Chapter 11 Monitoring and Evaluation.
Objective SMT O2: Sustainable Travel Infrastructure - It is an objective of the Council to:
Maintain and expand active travel infrastructure to provide for accessible safe pedestrian and cycling routes route network in Caherconlish. This includes the following:
- Support the development of an active travel connection from the village to Caherconlish/Caherline GAA pitch;
- Improved connectivity from Village Square to Millennium Centre, including traffic calming measures and pedestrian improvements on approach road from Boskill;
- Explore the feasibility for the provision of traffic calming measures on the Old Creamery Road.
- Incorporate Sustainable Travel measures in all new developments in the village.
As mentioned, by nature of its close proximity to Limerick City, Caherconlish is a commuter village where the use of the private car is the predominant form of transport. Supporting and facilitating modal shift to sustainable transport options is a focus for the Draft Plan. Active travel is the concept of travelling by walking, cycling or other non-motorised wheel based transport modes. Active Travel is usually focused on shorter trips as a natural choice for every day journeys to school, work or for social reasons. Analysis of POWSCAR data for Caherconlish highlights that 78% of the working population travel outside of settlement for work purposes, travel by car driver. Changing the behaviour of this modal group to an alternative mode will be most challenging, however there is potential for change to modes, such as carpooling or public transport through workplace travel plans/mobility management planning at destination.
Fig 7.2: Places of Work, School or Collage Census Anonymised Results 2016
Analysis of POWSCAR Data for Caherconlish shows that car travel is also significantly high for more localised trips. For example, 37% of those travelling for work purposes with origin and destination within the settlement of Caherconlish travel by car driver (22 individuals). In addition, 50% of those travelling for educational purposes with origin and destination within the settlement travel by car (37 students) and out of the 37 students, 35 are travelling from within a 2km radius of the school. Focusing on school travel, Caherconlish National School, by nature of its location and layout experiences traffic congestion particularly at drop off and collection times. The provision of enhanced infrastructural safety measures at the school gate on the L1149 would support active travel measures and changing travel behaviour to the school There are many positive health, environmental and economic benefits from participating in active travel including reduced road congestion, improved air quality, addressing climate change, increased access to employment/education and reduced social exclusion.
Whilst the current situation appears to be entrenched, there are a number of future opportunities which have the ability to address current travel trends and to examine the existing travel behaviours within Caherconlish to provide for the realisation of a more sustainable transport model.
- Safe Routes to Schools Programme: Caherconlish has been included as part of the National Transport Authority’s Safe Route to Schools Programme. The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Programme was developed in partnership with the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Green-Schools and aims to improve safety at the school gate, improve access routes to school by improving walking and cycling infrastructure and increase the number of students who cycle to school. It is envisaged that the school will become actively engaged with the programme within the lifetime of the plan;
- Preparation of a Traffic Management Plan for Caherconlish to manage the existing road network and its users to maximise safety, efficiency and reliability;
- Connection to Caherconlish/Caherline GAA Pitch;
- Increase permeability through future development within the settlement;
- Change of focus to town centre first policy, development of infill/brownfield sites and creation of a more compact village;
- Opportunity sites focused on improving permeability and localised access.
The Limerick Development Plan 2022-2028 sets out targets for the modal shift for Tier 3 Settlements including Caherconlish:
Limerick Development Plan 2022-2028 Modal Shift Targets Tier 3 Settlements
Settlement Levels 3-6/Rural Areas (All Work/Education Trips)
Fig. 7.3 Modal Shift Targets Settlement Levels 3-6
With the high levels of commuter-based travel in Caherconlish, there are significant challenges with regard to promoting a modal shift away from the private car usage. However, the Draft Caherconlish Local Area Plan strives to reduce the reliance on the private car, by promoting and facilitating more sustainable modes of transport, based on the principles of the 10-minute town a compact settlement and the town-centre first approach. The Council will co-operate closely with other relevant agencies and stakeholders, including the NTA, to address modal shift targets as above.
Objective SMT O3: Supporting Modal Split and Behavioural Change - It is an objective of the Council to:
(a) Encourage, promote and facilitate a modal shift towards more sustainable forms of transport in Caherconlish.
(b) Support and facilitate implementation of an integrated, multi-modal and accessible public transport network catering for all members of society across Caherconlish and its hinterland, including any investment in the public transport by service providers in Caherconlish.
(c) Improve and create additional facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, as part of a coherent and integrated active travel network, as opportunities arise as part of new developments.
(d) Facilitate and implement the Safe Route to Schools Programme in conjunction with relevant stakeholders, with particular focus on Park and Stride and promoting modal change in favour of active travel measures. Seek to enhance the existing arrangements for school drop off/collection, which may require reassignment of road space to maximise pedestrian and cyclist safety.
Caherconlish is located south of the N24, only 2km south of the junction of the R513 with the N24, the main Limerick – Waterford National Route and experiences large volumes of traffic travelling through the village on a daily basis. The heavy volume of traffic is principally from through traffic using the R513 between Limerick and Mitchelstown, which forms the main axis of the village. The National Development Plan 2019-2027 has identified the up-grade of the N24 and improved connectivity between Limerick and Waterford as a national infrastructural priority, and the section from Limerick Junction to Cahir is progressing through the design and environmental report stages. The improved route to southeast Tipperary and the Southeast of the country is hoped to have an impact on alleviating some of this through-traffic through Caherconlish. In addition, the N24 Beary’s Cross Road Improvement Scheme, which includes a new roundabout junction, has commenced at Beary’s Cross on the N24. This is a heavily used junction for those accessing Caherconlish, Hospital and into North Cork and for those travelling from Caherconlish into Limerick City.
Fig. 7.4 Directional Signage on the R513
The Council will seek to continue to work in partnership with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and other stakeholders in the design process and the delivery of these schemes. Although some improvements have been made within the village, there is still issues with car parking.
The Council will examine the benefits in providing a bypass of the village. This will help alleviate traffic congestion in the centre of the village and along the approach roads as well as potentially serving as an access to the new development areas in the Draft Plan.
Policy SMT P3: Sustainable Mobility and Regional Accessibility - It is policy of the Council to: Support sustainable mobility, enhanced regional accessibility and connectivity within Caherconlish and accessing Limerick and the south east area, in accordance with the Limerick Development Plan 2022-2028.
7.5.1 Proposed Road Infrastructure Provision
The key road infrastructure objectives for Caherconlish is enhanced accessibility to and within Caherconlish and to create an environment that supports sustainable travel and a better quality of life for its residents.
Objective SMT O4: Traffic Management Plan - It is an objective of the Council to:
Facilitate the preparation of a Traffic Management Plan for Caherconlish Village.
Objective SMT O5 Movement and Accessibility - It is an objective of the Council to:
Investigate the feasibility of a bypass for the village and to examine potential route options to allow for such infrastructure.