€9 million funding boost for Limerick City! Posted on February 1st, 2012
The Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, welcomes today’s announcement by the Minister of State for Public and Commuter Transport Alan Kelly that Limerick City has been selected as a Smarter Travel Area following a National Competition for Smarter Travel Areas, new sustainable transport investment programme, with €9 million of funding to be made available to the Limerick project over the next 5 years.
Limerick City has been selected along with Dungarvan and Westport out of 39 applicants from local authorities across the country and will share in funding of €23 million over the next five years as part of a new sustainable transport investment programme.
The Limerick Smarter Travel proposal, a joint initiative between Limerick City Council and Limerick County Council, will see Limerick City centre and surrounding areas transformed into a Smarter Travel Area. A wide range of measures and interventions targeted at commuter and personal travel will be rolled out by Limerick City Council and Limerick County Council over the next 5 years.
In broad terms, the project to transform the City into a smarter travel area will include:
- improved cycling ways, including safe routes to school and to key business and workplace zones;
- secure cycle parking in town centres or at public transport nodes;
- better walking facilities, including pedestrianisation;
- lower speed limits in residential and town centre areas;
- school and workplace travel planning
- car clubs
The Limerick City Smarter Travel project will be have a number of benefit including reshape and transform the city, reducing congestion and pollution, improving road safety, creating local employment opportunities and improving peoples health and fitness.
Comment on today’s announcement Minister Noonan stated:
“The selection of Limerick city as a Smarter Travel Area is great news for the City and will transform the city centre and surrounding area, lead to reduced congestion and support local business and communities. I would like to commended Limerick City Council and Limerick County Council for the quality of their joint proposal and look forward to seeing the full benefits of the programme on the City in the coming years. Their ambitious plan is focused on four hubs – City Centre, Corbally, Castleroy and Regeneration hub and incorporates the University of Limerick campus. It will further enhance Limerick City and make the City and surrounding areas a very attractive destination for investment in the future.”
Description of Limerick Project
The Limerick Smarter Travel proposal is a joint initiative between Limerick City Council and Limerick County Council. The proposal provides the opportunity to assess Smarter Travel measures across a range of communities in a city context. The proposal is focussed on four hubs – City Centre, Corbally, Castletroy and Regeneration Hub. This Smarter Travel initiative seeks to facilitate travel in a more sustainable manner, within and between the hubs. The proposal is tailored to meet the varying travel needs of communities within the hubs.
University of Limerick (UL) is a key partner in the proposal providing access to a diverse range of additional expertise, in particular engineering and design expertise. UL, which has a substantial student body of 11,300 and 1,300 staff, will also implement Smarter Travel across the campus. The Limerick proposal therefore provides an invaluable opportunity to pilot sustainable travel measures with the third level student population.
There was strong support at the local political level for this proposal. Limerick businesses were very involved in its development with both Limerick Chamber of Commerce and firms in the Technology Park consulted throughout. Local schools are also on board with the bid and the Shannon Development CEO is also very keen on the proposals due to realising that growth aspirations may be achieved through Smarter Travel initiatives. Munster Rugby is also a very high-profile supporter of the Limerick STA.
The proposal combines behavioural change and infrastructure elements tailored to the needs identified for each hub. Cycle routes are proposed improving connectivity in the study area. Measures that target behavioural change include workplace travel planning, residential travel planning and car sharing/car clubs.
There are a number of positive projected outcomes and impacts associated with the Limerick STA proposal. In terms of overall modal shift in the study area, it is projected that at the end of the five-year project period car modal share will have decreased from 51% to 37%. Over the period, it is also projected that travel by sustainable modes (walking, cycling and public transport) will increase from 43% to 61%. Furthermore, the benefit of the Limerick STA proposal in terms of kilometres saved is estimated to be in the region of 24 million km. UK experience suggests a value of 18p (approx. 20 cents) for congestion cost saving per vehicle km , providing an estimated overall saving of approximately €4.9 million for the Limerick proposal.