Certainly there is great potential for a Dart type of commuter service to link the main towns with Limerick city. The present rail network infrastructure would facilitate most of it. In four decades time (2050) we would probably see a doubling of the population living in urban areas around the mid-west.
- Limerick 100.000 -> 200.000
- Ennis 25.000 -> 50.000
- Shannon 10.000 -> 20.000
- Nenagh 7.500 -> 15.000
- Thurles 7.500 -> 15.000
- Tipperary 5.000 -> 10.000
- Newcastle West 5.000 -> 10.000
With this type of critical mass one could operate a decent enough electric rail service (Dart) between these centres with stops at the numerous villages (P&R) along the way.
Gluas / Luas
The way we choose to live today in the city i.e. an ever expanding spawn of housing estates out into the country side just makes public transport in general unattractive and expensive to operate. I think we donâ€™t live compact enough (i.e. apartments) to get the benefits from the economies of scale from such investments
I fear the motor car (electric) will remain the number one choice for commuting.
The big question would be in which direction will the city centre expand?
- Down river: after a transfer of the docks to Foynes?
- Across the river: either side of Condell road?
- Towards: Kings Island / Clare Street (Park canal)?
- Outwards: Mulgrave Street?
Will the city council re-focus the expanding direction of the city centre towards the railway station?
Certainly the area around the station like you said, should have a high density mixed use to make it an attractive destination to travel to from outside the city. The nearby three story council flats on Hyde road donâ€™t meet todayâ€™s standards or the boxed-in Jackman park is pretty much handicapped here to develop to its full potential as a soccer stadium.
This road could have been the ideal direct link between the planned city centre orbital route and the Rosbrien interchange junction for Dublin, Waterford and Cork. Of course that would have meant re-locating a school and Young Munsters playing grounds.
Ennis-Limerick Commuter: Image by [url=flickr.com/photos/kpmarek/2413942543]Kpmarek[/url]