Chapter 11 - Transport and Movement
11 Transport and Movement
While the overarching rationale for the making of a Local Area Plan is to guide land-use, the integration of good land use planning with transportation can unlock significant improvements in the quality of life. Reducing the need to travel long distances by private car, and increasing the use of sustainable and healthy alternatives, can bring multiple benefits to both our environment and communities.
As set out under the Metropolitan Area Strategic Plan (MASP), the transport investment requirements in the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area will be identified and prioritised through the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Strategic Transport Strategy (L-SMATS). A Draft L-SMATS has been prepared and is undergoing public consultation. This Strategy will include a full assessment of the transport needs of the Metropolitan Area. It is an objective of the MASP to achieve the National Strategic Outcomes of the NPF, through the sustainable and infrastructure led regeneration, consolidation and growth of strategic residential, employment and nodal locations along strategic bus network corridors.
The Southern Environs is strategically located within the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area. The Southern Environs has national road links to the entire country via the M7 (Limerick/ Dublin) and M20 (Limerick/ Cork) motorways, the N18 (Limerick/ Shannon/ Ennis/ Galway), N69 (Limerick/ Foynes/ Tralee), N20 (Limerick/ Tralee), N21 (Limerick/ Newcastlewest/ Tralee via N20) and N24 (Limerick/ Waterford) National Secondary Roads and a network of regional and local roads.
The Local Authority is committed to the protection of the capacity of the national road network. To this end, the Local Authority shall have regard to all relevant Government guidance including DoECLG “Spatial Planning and National Roads Guidelines” (DoECLG, 2012) in the carrying out of its functions. In addition, care shall be taken in the carrying out of its statutory functions, to ensure development does not prejudice the future development or impair the capacity of the planned core network under TEN-T Regulations, which includes the Foynes to Limerick Road (including Adare Bypass) project.
The Environs has international access via Limerick Port, Shannon Airport and Foynes Port. The Environs are easily accessible to the rail network via Colbert Station in Limerick City Centre. A number of local bus routes also provide services in the Environs, including the linking of the City Centre with the Regional Hospital and Raheen Business Park via the Quality Bus Corridor on St. Nessan’s Road.
The accessibility of the Environs provides key advantages for the attraction of economic and residential development to the area.
11.2 Creating Modal Shift
In accordance with the Draft L-SMATS, in order to achieve more sustainable travel patterns, a significant focus on reducing car dependency and increasing permeability is required. The key to getting people out of their cars and into public transport is to have a reliable, convenient, frequent and fast public transport service available and opportunities for pedestrian and cycle linkages, that bring people to the places they want to go. The Draft L-SMATS sets out a number of key outcomes for walking, cycling and public transport, which should be read in tandem with this chapter.
The L-SMATS will provide the opportunity to integrate new mixed-use development at appropriate densities with high capacity public transport infrastructure, in conjunction with more attractive walking and cycling networks and public realm improvements. This has the potential double benefit of extending the catchment of sustainable modes to more people and places, and improving the viability of future investment in public transport by attracting higher demand.
The improvement of transport infrastructure is a key element of sustainable development and achieving a low carbon economy. At present traffic congestion is an issue which needs to be addressed. Vehicles dominate many streets and largely unrestricted vehicle movement is detrimental to a vibrant and livable environment. This issue can negatively impact on the quality and type of activities that can be accommodated and the attractiveness to, and safety of, pedestrians and cyclists.
Limiting and/ or removing vehicles at certain locations would benefit the public realm in terms of air quality and noise, and make the Environs a more attractive place to live, work and visit. In addition, there is an identified need for upgrades to, and provision of new vehicular, pedestrian and cycle connections to improve the accessibility to existing residential estates, the Strategic Employment Locations and educational facilities.
The benefits of reducing reliance on the car and prioritising public transport and improving the permeability of the Environs for cyclists and walkers, can be summarised as follows:
- Reduced dependence on fossil fuels, pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions;
- Increased levels of exercise with consequent public health and wellbeing benefits;
- Builds social capital in neighbourhoods through increased social interaction;
- Higher numbers of pedestrians and cyclists increase levels of passive supervision making places safer;
- Reduced congestion on roads makes public transport more viable;
- Reduced transport related emissions;
- Reduced expenditure leakage to larger centres, benefiting local businesses;
- Facilitates the economic case for public transport investment.
Limerick City and County Council will continue to provide for all components of the transportation system, which are within it’s own remit and will encourage and facilitate the development of those other elements provided by external agencies, such as the National Transport Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland.
A key aim of this Draft LAP is to promote compact, connected neighbourhoods based on street patterns and forms of development that will make walking and cycling, especially for local trips, more attractive. This approach is in line with the Draft L-SMATS and national policy such as the “Smarter Travel, A Sustainable Transport Future” (2009) and “Ireland’s First National Cycle Policy Framework” (2009), which promote sustainable travel movements and encourage people to find alternative ways to travel and reduce car dependency.
The key principles for maintaining and providing permeability within the plan area are as follows:
- Origins and destinations, such as schools and shops, should be linked in the most direct manner possible for pedestrians and cyclists;
- Greater priority should be given to pedestrians and cyclists;
- The physical design of links should be fit for purpose in terms of attractiveness, capacity, safety and security;
- Junctions should cater for pedestrians and cyclists safely and conveniently.
The NPF identifies the provision of a citywide public transport network as a key enabler for Limerick. This is consistent with the Climate Action Plan, National Development Plan and RSES, which envisage a significantly enhanced bus service in Limerick by 2027. The BusConnects Limerick programme will provide a reliable, high-frequency public transport service to improve connectivity of Limerick City and suburbs.
The proposed BusConnects service will represent a significant upgrade on the existing system and will comprise a more comprehensive network, bus priority and new zero carbon fleet with increased capacity, accessibility and high frequency. It will serve all key destinations and provide modal interchanges with the rail network and proposed Park and Ride services.
The Draft L-SMATS has been prepared with cognisance to the Limerick Metropolitan Network Study (Cycling) and the Limerick Municipal District Movement Framework (Walking) and aims to identify a contiguous network of connected primary, secondary and feeder routes for cyclists and pedestrians.
Figure 17: Pedestrian and Cycleways
The Draft L-SMATS identifies Strategic Walking Routes, which connect residential areas to key areas of employment and third level education in Limerick City Centre and Suburbs. It is envisaged that these will be upgraded in tandem with BusConnects, enhancing the pedestrian and cycle network to enable greater levels of walking commuter trips, or as part of linked trips in combination with public transport modes.
The provision of a continuous cycle network as envisaged in the Draft L-SMATS will encourage cycling for trips to work, school, recreation and leisure facilities in the Southern Environs. The Dooradoyle, Raheen and Mungret areas currently have a mix of cycling facilities on major arteries including St. Nessan’s Road, Dooradoyle Road, Ballinacurra Road and the R510. These vary in terms of type and quality of services.
The Draft L-SMATS sets out proposals for a comprehensive Cycle Network in the Southern Environs. The proposed cycle network has been designed with cognisance to the major trip attractors, major residential trip generators and the desire lines connecting the Raheen network area to the wider Limerick Metropolitan Area.
Transport and Movement: Strategic Policy:
To promote and facilitate a sustainable transport system that prioritises and provides for walking, cycling and public transport facilities while ensuring sufficient traffic management.
Objectives: It is an Objective of the Council to:
TM O1: Facilitate implementation and delivery of the proposals set out in the Draft Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Strategic Transport Strategy or any replacement thereof.
TM O2: Ensure all proposed developments comply with the policies, objectives and Development Management Standards of the Limerick County Development Plan 2010 – 2016 (as extended), and any replacement thereof.
TM O3: Support and facilitate implementation of an integrated, multi modal and accessible public transport network catering for all members of society across the Metropolitan Area, in particular the proposed BusConnects program linking strategic residential and employment growth locations with the City Centre.
TM O4: Encourage, promote and facilitate a modal shift towards more sustainable forms of transport in all developments.
TM O5: Improve and provide clear, safe and direct pedestrian linkages and cycle networks as identified in the Draft Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Strategic Transport Strategy, including the greenways between the employment zones, shopping areas and residential areas throughout the Environs.
TM O6: Improve and create additional facilities for pedestrians and cyclists as opportunities arise as part of new developments.
TM O7: Investigate the feasibility of the provision of “park and ride”, carpooling, car sharing and bike sharing facilities to incorporate car parking and a bus stop/terminus at appropriate locations, including in the area of Raheen Business Park as indicated under the Draft L-SMATS.
TM O8: Ensure car parking is provided in accordance with the Development Management Standards of the Limerick County Development Plan 2010 – 2016 (as extended) or any replacement thereof.
TM O9: Concentrate people intensive development in areas easily accessible to public transport.
TM O10: Require the submission of Mobility Management Plans and Traffic and Transport Assessments for large scale employment related developments, including at the Strategic Employment Locations of Raheen Business Park and University Hospital Limerick.
TM O11: Protect the capacity of the national road network, having regard to all relevant Government guidance including DoECLG “Spatial Planning and National Roads Guidelines” (DoECLG, 2012) in the carrying out of Local Authority functions and ensure development does not prejudice the future development or impair the capacity of the planned core network under TEN-T Regulations, which includes the Foynes to Limerick Road (including Adare Bypass) project.
TM O12: Prevent inappropriate development on lands adjacent to the existing national road network, which would adversely affect the safety, current and future capacity and function of national roads and having regard to reservation corridors to cater for possible future upgrades of the national roads and junctions. Support delivery of strategic road infrastructure identified in the RSES including:
-Foynes to Limerick Road Scheme (including Adare Bypass);
-Upgrade of arterial roads from the motorway network to increase capacity, including the provision of public transport infrastructure and Park and Ride facilities, including at the R527 Dock Road.
TM O13: a) Support and complete delivery of new and improved link roads and junctions accommodating public transport, cycle and pedestrian connections, such as the Mungret Loughmore Area Link Road/ Mungret Link Streets project and indicative proposals outlined on Map No. 4. The layout and design of such works shall have cognisance to the context and interface with surrounding land uses in compliance with the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets (DoECLG 2019);
b) Ensure proposals make provision for the accommodation of bus services along the most significant link routes, which shall include identification of bus stopping and turning areas, as well as carriageway capacity and through routes.
It should be noted that the alignment of the new roads in the plan is indicative only. These roads shall definitely be aligned as part of the detailed design and development process. Similarly, the location of junctions is indicative and the exact position for construction purposes will be dependent on detailed design.
TM O14: Implement Supplementary Contribution Schemes to facilitate delivery of link roads, including the link road which will connect the Local Infrastructure Housing Delivery Activation Fund Road to the R526.
TM O15: Close vehicular access from Blackberry lane onto the Dock road once an alternative link is available. Development of lands zoned “Enterprise & Employment” south of the Dock road and east of the R510, which exceeds capacity on the existing Blackberry Lane / Dock Road junction, shall provide for and utilise the new proposed link onto the Dock Road in place of the existing Blackberry Lane – Dock Road junction as shown on Map No.4.
TM O16: Improve the efficiency of junctions to enhance the free flow of traffic through the Environs.
TM O17: Facilitate and implement appropriate measures to reduce or manage traffic associated with schools to regularise vehicular movements and alleviate congestion.
TM O18: Prohibit advertising signage adjacent to the motorway, the national road networks and other major transport routes.
TM O19: Require noise sensitive developments in close proximity to heavily trafficked roads to be designed and constructed to minimise noise disturbance, follow a good acoustic design process and clearly demonstrate that significant adverse noise impacts will be avoided in accordance with “Professional Practice Guidance on Planning and Noise” (2017).
TM O20: Retain the Limerick to Foynes rail line and avoid encroachment of inappropriate development which may compromise the line’s potential future use.
TM 021: Ensure that all future transport infrastructure is climate proofed, through design and construction, to function in a climate altered future and would, where possible, be multi- functional e.g. provide accessible routes for other services such as fibre optics or water, energy connections or other services and technologies that might come about during the lifetime of the infrastructure.