In Ireland, Limerick City and County Council is working to turn the city centre into a top urban destination for the summer of 2020. While still complying with the COVID-19 restrictions, the plans include facilitating mobility in the city centre and providing entertainment to support local businesses and improve the liveability of the city centre, while social distancing restrictions are still in place.
The idea includes a comprehensive set of transport and non-transport measures that are well integrated with each other. Parts of the city centre will be pedestrianised and footpaths will be widened, which, along with partial road closures and traffic management, will free up space for performance and entertainment programmes, enabling businesses to come onto the streets to interact with people. Additionally, cycling tracks will be extended and cycle parking enlarged to facilitate travel by bicycle. Parking facilities are being installed to free the centre of cars. The measures will be implemented alongside a 25 km/h advisory speed limit, which will make it easier to experience the city as an open-air event over the summer of 2020.
Facilitating entertainment in the city centre is a key measure for its revival. Limerick will see 3D street art for giant games and pop-up street events. A foot trail will encourage dining outside and drive-in gigs and movies will encourage people to experience the city centre’s public space. Night-time markets and street performances will support the city’s theatres and other cultural venues.
The measures will all comply with the public health guidelines that are in place due to COVID-19, as the Council aims to ease the living and business conditions in the city. Limerick is following the national easing of restrictions and aims to start its transformation by the end of June 2020. Other activities will start on 20 July with events running until 10 August. The full programme will be ready from 29 June 2020. Residents are invited to comment on the plan at Limerick.ie (search ‘Mobility Plan – Guiding Limerick Through Covid-19′ on Limerick.ie or on the COVID-19 link on the website).
The Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Councillor Michael Sheahan said that these short-term measures have the long-term potential to further unlock the unique culture and welcome in the city and wider 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.”
The initial plans are focusing on the city centre of Limerick. However, the City and County Council is also looking at creating and delivering similar plans for other towns in the county.
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Article published first at https://www.ilovelimerick.ie/ on 2 June 2020