City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby CologneMike » Fri Jul 02, 2010 7:47 pm

The proposed plan includes the remodelling and pedestrianisation of Limerick’s centre and the development of a new Orbital Route that will still give traffic access to the heart of the city. The aim of the €50 million Regeneration Plan is to give pedestrians priority in the heart of Limerick city, improve the streetscapes and traffic management, according to Limerick City Manager Tom Mackey. “This plan will give Limerick a vibrant and living city centre to match the best cities in Europe of comparable size,” Mr Mackey said. It will create a first class friendly public space where people can shop, live, work, sit in cafes and enjoy street entertainment, Mr Mackey added.

“The remodelling of Limerick will complement the major regeneration of the city centre that is currently underway with the private sector investing over €1 billion in developments such as the Opera Centre, new hotels, commercial and residential projects,” Mr Mackey said. And the new proposed Orbital Route will still give traffic access to the city centre while giving pedestrians and cyclists better access to quality public space, Mr Mackey added.
Limerick city is one of the nine National Spatial Strategy Gateway Centres targeted in the National Development Plan for regional investment. The Exchequer is to provide €300 million in a Gateways Innovation Fund to these local authorities for local economic infrastructure.

The National Development Plan lists among its priority investment for the Limerick-Shannon Gateway; “the significant upgrading of the public areas and streets in Limerick City centre and re-imaging of Limerick through a major urban renewal initiative”. Mr Mackey said: “Limerick City Council has developed a comprehensive Public Realm Strategy and is in the process of advancing many schemes to design and construction stage that could avail of the Gateway Innovation Fund.” The €50 million Limerick City Centre Regeneration Plan was unveiled to the 17 local councillors at a meeting in City Hall.

It includes:
  • The full pedestrianisation of O’Connell Street between William Street and Roches Street.
  • The widening of footpaths and improved landscaping of the remainder of the O’Connell Street to give priority to pedestrians.
  • Pedestrian priority treatment for all of William Street with the widening of footpaths and improved landscaping.


These new works are part of an overall strategic pedestrianisation plan that has already started, or is under construction, with the remodelling of Baker Place; pedestrianisation of Bedford Row and the remodelling and pedestrianisation of Lower Thomas Street, Little Catherine Street and Augustinian Lane at a cost of €10 million.

And Limerick City Council is shortly going to tender for the:
  • Remodelling of Upper Thomas Street and Catherine Street (Thomas Street to Roches Street.)
  • Rremodelling and pedestrianisation of Foxes Bow and Limerick Lane.

Limerick City Council Director of Traffic and Infrastructure Pat Dromey said: “The history of pedestrianisation is that it brings increased footfall to streets and a better trading environment. Limerick traders who experienced pedestrianisation to date have stated publicly that it has improved their business.”

Mr Dromey added: “The one way orbital routes in city centres are considered a very efficient and safe way of moving traffic with up to 50% less turning at junctions and a decreased risk of collision.”

This Public Realm initiative will also complement the major regeneration and improvement works planned for the Shannon riverside along, Clancy Strand, Curragower Bund, O’Callaghan Strand, Steamboat Quay and Sir Harry’s Mall, Mr Dromey added.

As well as facilitating the pedestrianisation works on O’Connell Street, the Orbital Route will also allow wider footpaths and board walks to be constructed between Bishops Quay and Arthurs Quay along the riverside, Mr Dromey said.

The proposed Orbital Route around the city centre will create a mainly one-way two lane clockwise traffic system that will be divided into three sections: Northern, Central and Southern.

  • The Northern Section travels along: Arthurs Quay, Charlotte’s Quay, Clare Street, Saint Lelia Street, New Road and Cathedral Place.
  • And the Central Section travels along: Sarsfield Street, William Street, Upper William Street, Sexton Street, Roches Street, Shannon Street and Henry Street.
  • The Southern Section travels along Parnell Street, Mallow Street and Henry Street.


The proposed remodelling works will include high quality pavements, improved pedestrian crossings, new street furniture, tree planting and the removal of some on-street parking.

The Contents of the Plan can be Viewed in the Attached Documents: (Limerick City Council)
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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby CologneMike » Fri Jul 02, 2010 7:54 pm

William Street / Upper William Street & Sarsfield Street

Construction mobilisation – Works commences 5th July 2010 (Limerick City Council)

The William Street improvement scheme comprises the fourth stage of the Limerick City Centre Re-modelling of Streets and Public Open Spaces Programme, led by Limerick City Council Transport & Infrastructure department. This ambitious initiative aims to make the City Centre a visitor friendly environment and a far more attractive place in which to shop, to visit, do business, and pass the time of day.

The Remodelling of Limerick City Centre has been under-way since 2001, comprising the creation of a new public square at Baker Place, streetscape improvements at Lower Bedford Row, and a major transformation of Upper Bedford Row (between Henry Street and O’Connell Street) In phase 3 substantial upgrade works have been carried out on Thomas Street, Little Catherine Street, Augustinian Land, Foxes Bow and Block 1 of Catherine Street. Along the riverside major public realm improvements have also been completed at O’Callaghan Strand and Clancy Strand including the new Board walk all of which demonstrate the City Councils commitment to revitalising Limerick City Centre.

Development of the William Street/Sarsfield Street project has entailed extensive on-going consultation with key stakeholders and the local business and residential community on the street. Limerick City Council is grateful to the stakeholders for the level of cooperation and goodwill It has received throughout the consultation process in developing a scheme that meets the needs of the various street uses. This project also required the review of city centre traffic management measures and to facilitate the scheme a new road network was introduced earlier this year in the upper William Street area.

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With the eminent opening of the tunnel, the national routes (N7, N24, N20 and N18) are now banished from the city centre thus giving the city council the green light to really remodel its streets. :)
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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby Goofy » Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:59 pm

Great news! I had noticed loads of those large concrete blocks used for mounting temporary traffic signs all around town the other day. Now i know what they are for.

If you look at the William Street signing PDF here, you can see they have added a bus lane to William street. Does anyone know where i can find proper plan drawings for this remodeling?
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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby Contraband » Sat Jul 03, 2010 6:15 pm

The only real problem I see with this is the fact that the city centre is dead. The amount of completely abandoned shops is almost impressive. Will pedestrianizing streets encourage shops to open?
I thought the Opera Centre had also (more or less) permanently stalled, or have the wheels begun to move again on that?
Even still, I'd be more than up for the full pedestrianization of O'Connell Street - even though I have my doubts how it could help the city centre's businesses it would still freshen up the street and look great!

How soon do ye reckon they could start implementing the pedestrianization of our main thoroughfare?
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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby CologneMike » Sun Jul 04, 2010 10:32 pm

The Remodelling of Limerick City Centre has been under-way since 2001, comprising the creation of a new public square at Baker Place.


One would want to compare old photos of Tait’s Clock to see the vast improvement achieved here. That no truck never hit the base of the clock as it stood in middle of the road fully unprotected is a wonder.

The only whim I have is the planting of trees so close to the clock where in time its view would be impaired thus making its function as a public clock worthless!

ShaneP scanned and uploaded the Baker Place plans a while back, photos city council.

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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby Tuborg » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:35 pm

CologneMike wrote:William Street / Upper William Street & Sarsfield Street

Construction mobilisation – Works commences 5th July 2010


Good to finally see some progress on this. There have been so many false starts over the last number of years, it was beginning to look as if it had been postponed indefinitely.

One aspect that stands out straight away is the cost. The value of the contract is listed as €4 million, which seems incredibly low for what is a fairly extensive project. Could this be right or have the plans been watered down I wonder?

I can't say I'm too impressed by the addition of a bus lane here though. This reduces the street to a single lane for traffic which is really poorly thought out idea. Since the opening of the Cathedral Place - Sexton Street orbital link, the right hand lane of William Street is used by traffic turning onto that orbital link road. The left lane is for traffic heading outbound towards Mulgrave Street etc. Squeezing all this traffic into 1 lane is surely going to cause problems!
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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby Tuborg » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:49 pm

Original Plans for William Street (March 2007)

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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby zulutango » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:26 am

Tuborg wrote:Good to finally see some progress on this. There have been so many false starts over the last number of years, it was beginning to look as if it had been postponed indefinitely.

One aspect that stands out straight away is the cost. The value of the contract is listed as €4 million, which seems incredibly low for what is a fairly extensive project. Could this be right or have the plans been watered down I wonder?

I can't say I'm too impressed by the addition of a bus lane here though. This reduces the street to a single lane for traffic which is really poorly thought out idea. Since the opening of the Cathedral Place - Sexton Street orbital link, the right hand lane of William Street is used by traffic turning onto that orbital link road. The left lane is for traffic heading outbound towards Mulgrave Street etc. Squeezing all this traffic into 1 lane is surely going to cause problems!


Funnily enough, the Council don't necessarily want a free-flowing city centre. There appears to be a bit of collusion between the council and the operators of the new tunnel to restrict traffic in the city centre, and force some of it to use the tunnel. Heard this from a very reliable source. You'll see a few seemingly illogical new traffic control measures in the city over the next few months, once the tunnel opens for business. Watch this space.
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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby CologneMike » Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:09 pm

Contraband wrote:The only real problem I see with this is the fact that the city centre is dead. The amount of completely abandoned shops is almost impressive.


Agreed, however the city centre has so much potential and slowly but surely things are turning in its favour despite the savage loss of jobs associated with the Dell fall-out and the burst property bubble.

Tuborg wrote:I can't say I'm too impressed by the addition of a bus lane here though. This reduces the street to a single lane for traffic which is really poorly thought out idea. Since the opening of the Cathedral Place - Sexton Street orbital link, the right hand lane of William Street is used by traffic turning onto that orbital link road. The left lane is for traffic heading outbound towards Mulgrave Street etc. Squeezing all this traffic into 1 lane is surely going to cause problems!


I think it could be a good concept for William Street i.e. forcing the main flow of traffic around the orbital route and discourage traffic driving straight through the city centre as a short-cut.

How will they manage the traffic when William Street is closed for the duration of works?

zulutango wrote:There appears to be a bit of collusion between the council and the operators of the new tunnel to restrict traffic in the city centre, and force some of it to use the tunnel. Heard this from a very reliable source. You'll see a few seemingly illogical new traffic control measures in the city over the next few months, once the tunnel opens for business. Watch this space.


Hmmm . . . . . they could operate regular questionnaires for motorists with “non L-Number-Plates” on the Shannon Bridge or set up speed traps along the Dock, Dooradoyle, Ballysimon, Dublin roads, this should piss-off most tunnel dodgers. :D

[align=center]Orbital Route[/align]

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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby Dan Sullivan » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:38 pm

Does William st need to be closed for the duration of the works though? Also, I would imagine the taxi drivers will be up in arms with the loss of another rank outside guineys which it looks like this work will result in. Is that necessarily a good thing?
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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby Tuborg » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:42 pm

CologneMike wrote:I think it could be a good concept for William Street i.e. forcing the main flow of traffic around the orbital route and discourage traffic driving straight through the city centre as a short-cut.



You would hope that the orbital route would be fully up and running by this time but who knows!

It's all very well making the city centre more pedestrian friendly. But at the same time I'd be slightly wary about reducing capacity on William Street. The tunnel will obviously be of enormous benefit to traffic that has no business entering Limerick City Centre. But there will still be a great deal of traffic inside the ring road that will continue to use the city centre for cross city trips.

You also have to factor in the reality that most people still prefer to drive into town and go about their business. Unfortunately the city centre is having enough difficulties pulling in the crowds as it is. We don't want to give people any more excuses.

Therefore I would prefer to wait and see how traffic patterns develop in the city centre before implementing this bus lane on William Street.
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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby Tuborg » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:07 pm

O'Connell Street Remodelling Project

The proposed improvements of this Phase comprise the full pedestrianisation of O’Connell Street between the junctions with William Street and Roches Street (with vehicular access limited to service deliveries during controlled times). Footpath widening and improvements to lower O’Connell Street between William Street and Denmark Street and to upper O’Connell Street, between Roches Street and Mallow Street.

The works include the provision of high quality surface finishes; improved street lighting, new street furniture and street tree planting (subject to below ground conditions). Undergrounding of existing services, public utilities service trenches and ducts, remedial works to existing basements where necessary, and surface water drainage systems.

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Proposed Pedestrian Zone

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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby PVC King » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:14 pm

Really refreshing to see the first urban dividend from the Shannon Tunnel and a proposed pedestrian environment not done in the standard Chinese Granite.

That has made my day :D
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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby Tuborg » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:20 pm

Debenhams & Penneys

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Brown Thomas

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Augustinian Church

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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby publicrealm » Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:22 pm

Tuborg wrote:Debenhams & Penneys ]


The images look good but the reality (zombie city) is quite shocking. I'm a big fan of the city. I moved from there to Dublin about 7 years ago but have revisited on and off since. Last Thursday I was in Killaloe and decided to run in to the city for the late opening. There was none (except BT - nearly empty) and fast food emporia - the whole place looked derelict.

Cruises St (never much to look at) was abandoned and the city centre had a slightly intimidating feel. I parked in William Street and wondered if my car would be safe for the duration of my walkabout (hardly any other cars there).

The retail park on the Castletroy Road was closed although the nearby Childer's Road one was doing well.

I imagine that the default choice must now be the Crescent shopping centre?

The city seems to be a victim of the myopia of competing planning authorities - by contrast Nenagh is much more vibrant and 'real' - certainly it has become the default choice for Killaloe people and beyond.:(
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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby CologneMike » Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:18 pm

publicrealm wrote:The images look good but the reality (zombie city) is quite shocking.


Sadly your perception would find flavour with a lot of people in Limerick too.

Though in my opinion it’s more a perception of the “glass is half empty” as against the “glass is half full”.

An undeniable fact is money is too tight to mention. Against a backdrop where the savage job losses of the Dell fallout, plus the collapse of the building sector and the recession in general has hit retail trading very hard in Limerick. Not to mention your point of the myopia of competing planning authorities that created the “Doughnut-Effect” which in turn poisoned the city centre core (e.g. 2,500 free car parking spaces at the Crescent).

The city centre may have a tired look about it, even lagging behind other city centres like Cork, Galway etc, etc. But what we have, we have! It’s a case of building on that and taking it further to realise its full potential. Like for example the recent re-opening of the Milk Market which shows people have still a very strong attraction for the city centre.

There is still a great selection of traditional Limerick shops (like O’Mahony’s Book Shop, Savin’s Music Store etc, etc.) which gives the city centre its own unique brand.

Last Thursday I was in Killaloe and decided to run in to the city for the late opening. There was none (except BT - nearly empty) and fast food emporia - the whole place looked derelict.


The city centre empties itself after six o’clock when people leave work for home, thus which would explain the availability of parking spaces on William Street on a Thursday evening. Still though the lit up city looks well after dusk and despite its negative media coverage (warranted or not) young people are still willing to go out for a good night on the town.

Definitely, there are a lot of issues to be addressed, like the city centre not having a cinema complex!

Cruises St (never much to look at) was abandoned and the city centre had a slightly intimidating feel. . . . . . I imagine that the default choice must now be the Crescent shopping centre?


Granted Cruise’s Street “Legoland” character won’t rival the pedestrian shopping experience of Grafton Street ;), but I shudder to think how worse off the city centre would be without this purpose built pedestrian zone. One should bear in mind the NRA had up until the opening of the tunnel, more power over the city centre streets than the city council.

I personally would opt for the city centre than the sterile shopping mall of the Crescent any day. Though this in reality could maybe due to the fact, that I live within walking distance of the city centre, when home on vacation. Parking is never an issue for me.

So I’m pretty optimistic that the remodelling of the city centre streets, together with one single local authority responsible for the whole city, will turn the “half full glass” into a full one.

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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby publicrealm » Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:10 pm

CologneMike wrote:Sadly your perception would find flavour with a lot of people in Limerick too.

Though in my opinion it’s more a perception of the “glass is half empty” as against the “glass is half full”.


Well stated CM.

I agree that there are many real shops in the city and I think you are correct also that my post was a little skewed towards 'half-empty'.

I definitely would not want to encourage a half empty attitude to the city because it really needs a bit of TLC and committment at the moment and I would love to see it realise its obvious potential - it has a fantastic Georgial skeleton.

I suppose I was just really disappointed - having seen the contrast of Cork a couple of days before. Also I was expecting late opening on Thursday - which maybe does not happen in Limerick - most regional cities (sorry!) can look a little grotty when the crowds are gone.

I certainly don't want to join the swelling ranks of her detractors :)
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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby zulutango » Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:54 am

That's a great succint appraisal of the situation, Mike.

The thing that stands out though is that parking is most definitly an issue. How we solve it, I don't know.

Over the next 10 - 20 years we definitely need to get more people living in the city centre, and that will help shift the balance from a car dependent population to one that chooses walking, cycling and public transport as their primary means of getting around the city.

But 'what we have' now is a suburban population and we must make it easier for them to shop in the city centre.

The bus lanes and a (hopefully) vastly improved public transport system to come in the next few years will be an important factor in that.

The reduced traffic volumes (and it does seem very evident since the opening of the tunnel), will also make it easier for people to drive in and shop in the city centre.

But allowing for those improvements, we will still need a lot more parking space, and it'll have to be co-ordinated so that it doesn't cause more problems than it solves. And it will have to be close enough to the shops so that people will use it. And lastly, it will have to be inexpensive. Quite a problem to solve.
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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby CologneMike » Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:02 pm

Tuborg wrote:I can't say I'm too impressed by the addition of a bus lane here though. This reduces the street to a single lane for traffic which is really poorly thought out idea. Since the opening of the Cathedral Place - Sexton Street orbital link, the right hand lane of William Street is used by traffic turning onto that orbital link road. The left lane is for traffic heading outbound towards Mulgrave Street etc. Squeezing all this traffic into 1 lane is surely going to cause problems!


This weeks Limerick Post shows an updated proposal for William Street with a bus lane.

I see that two lanes of Sarsfield Street were reopened yesterday for traffic with the taxi rank and bus stops due to be completed in the coming weeks. (live95fm)

How is the work in Upper William Street progressing?
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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby Tuborg » Fri Sep 17, 2010 5:28 pm

CologneMike wrote:This weeks Limerick Post shows an updated proposal for William Street with a bus lane.

I see that two lanes of Sarsfield Street were reopened yesterday for traffic with the taxi rank and bus stops due to be completed in the coming weeks. (live95fm)

How is the work in Upper William Street progressing?


Now it all makes sense as to why they lobbed a bus lane onto William Street. The City Council received significant government funding for the provision of bus lanes so naturally some of this cash can be used to fund the streetscape improvements also!

Otherwise I don't think they would have been in a position to fund these projects given the current climate.

It might just be the image quality but the paving looks slightly different to earlier drawings. I hope they havent watered down the plans!
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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby KeepAnEyeOnBob » Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:33 pm

CologneMike wrote:Granted Cruise’s Street “Legoland” character won’t rival the pedestrian shopping experience of Grafton Street ;), but I shudder to think how worse off the city centre would be without this purpose built pedestrian zone. One should bear in mind the NRA had up until the opening of the tunnel, more power over the city centre streets than the city council.


I still say if the buildings on William street were spruced up, then despite the rubbish modern buildings at the start of the street, with the streetscape remodelled it would be leagues ahead of Cruises Street. As is it is often busier and people cross back and forth despite the traffic.

Cruises Street has a feel of a back-alley. Not surprising as basically that is what it is. It seems disappointing that the money that went into knocking Cruises Hotel and building Cruises Street couldn't have gone into upgrading/refurbishing/replacing buildings along the existing streetscape - surely there was ample opportunity around that area even without Cruises Street. Now we still have the eyesores of the old Dunnes, Roches extension/Liddy St. shops, Penneys, Brown Thomas, the old Burgerland building (opposite Williamscourt - which was pretty much the land of the living dead until recently with Guineys). The new buildings on Sarsfield Street may as well have not been built - they are so grim looking! (being occupied would only make them marginally better than they are). Surely the money could have gone into replacing ugly modern buildings instead of tearing down an historic hotel and giving an excuse not to pedestrianise or upgrade existing long-standing city centre shopping streets (which have largely been left to rot until now).
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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby rumpelstiltskin » Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:40 pm

Not that this scheme won't be a vast improvement, but the picture above highlights the fact that the upper portion of William St., despite its grottiness, is an almost uninterrupted Georgian street. Surely if Limerick wants to highlight its status as a historic city it should be restoring the historic character of the street by installing heritage lamp posts and paving, and by encouraging the installation of appropriate shop fronts and sash windows and the removal of ugly rendering.
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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby KeepAnEyeOnBob » Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:41 pm

rumpelstiltskin,

I would prefer that, but the modern streetscape works quite well on Thomas Street and in a sense the Georgian buildings seem emphasised because of the contrast with the street treatment.

Also, I'm pretty sure the yellow stone used is far more cheerful (even more so in rain - important in Limerick) than any paving that has been used in the past, including any contemporary with the buildings. This is important and although in a sense it changes the character of the street, it is a positive change and in some ways makes the Georgian buildings seem to be in a more elegant setting. Thomas Street and the adjoining part of Catherine Street have a nice open atmosphere now, and Bedford Row, which would otherwise be Cruises Street-like in character due to the hulking block on the Marriot hotel side, is similarly lightened in atmosphere by the streetscape, despite being pretty shaded from sunshine.

I hope the paving used for William Street is similar.
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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby rumpelstiltskin » Sat Sep 18, 2010 10:37 pm

Well it certainly looks brighter and happier. I think the advantage of this type of paving is that it draws attention away from drab buildings and gives colour to a grey streetscape. I think it would work very well in Cork, for example, where a lot of the buildings in the centre are intrinsically and unchangeably drab. But the buildings in Limerick, and on William St. in particular, are not intrinsically drab, they've just been molested over the years. If they were returned to their original state, grey paving stones would probably be most suitable. For example, look at Merrion Square in Dublin or Bloomsbury in London - they actually look prettier in the rain because the buildings were built specifically for our climate and light, and have been preserved properly; honey coloured paving would probably be out of place there. For this reason, I think choosing colourful paving is in some ways a lazy solution. That said, it's certainly the best solution for Bedford Row and Lower Thomas Street, and probably for some portions of O'Connell St. too, as very few good old buildings remain.
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Re: City Centre Remodelling and Pedestrianisation

Postby Dan Sullivan » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:31 pm

I think it is curious that in the various discussions about the bus lanes in from the south that the issue of having to reroute the buses away from Todds (because we're going to have a pedestrian only O'Connell st. at that point hasn't been raised. The opportunity is there to connect the city buses with the regional services at the station if we're going to move from Todds as the main city centre stop.
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