Submission to An Bord Pleanála on A proposed Road Development comprising of the N2 Slane By-Pass and Public Realm Enhancement Scheme – case no. HA17.318573

Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission on this development. This submission is made in a personal capacity and does not represent the views of any organisation, including my employer.

It is suggested that further information is needed to adequately assess this application, particularly in relation to traffic and climate.

Page 7-49 in the Traffic and Transport chapter notes that the traffic model used is a fixed demand type, that is “additional trips or changes in trips (demand responses) that might be generated by a particular scheme are not considered. The only response considered by standard traffic models is change of route within the modelled area”.

Section 7.4.3 in the EIAR does attempt to apply a primitive variable demand model by applying “sensitivity parameters” derived from UK WEBTAG guidance. The resulting 1.5% modelled increased demand is assessed as being “at a very low level” and is not considered further.

The phenomenon of induced demand from new road schemes is well-established. A meta-analysis of the international evidence for induced demand was carried out for the UK Department of Transport in 2018 to update the concepts and methods for the treatment of induced traffic used in WEBTAG [1] found significant induced demand effects from new road schemes in various countries around the world.

In Ireland, a study commissioned by the National Roads Authority [2] to detail the inputs, outputs and operation of the Variable Demand model in the National Transport Model examined the evidence for induced demand from new road schemes to calibrate its model (note: there is no evidence in the EIAR that the National Transport Model was used to assess the impact of the Slane by-pass scheme). It found that the actual induced demand was 35% for the M1 Airport to Balbriggan scheme and 32% for the M4 Kinnegad to Galway scheme. In addition, the M4 Kinnegad to Galway scheme was found to have reduced passenger demand for rail services on the corridor by 20-30%. All of these effects were adequately modelled by the National Transport Model in the report.

It is important that the Board has adequate evidence of the likely impact of the proposed scheme in order to make a decision on the scheme. The EIAR presented assumes that the proposed scheme will have no effect on traffic volumes, or the mode share of public transport, compared with a do-minimum scenario.

The OECD, in its 2022 report Redesigning Ireland’s Transport for Net Zero [3], noted that the large public investment in the road network in Ireland has the effect that “the attractiveness of driving…compared to other modes increases. This results in fewer users of shared, micro and active modes…a higher number of cars in the region…and longer average distance driven by car per day…all of which increases traffic volume…congestion and travel time by car”. It further noted that the pattern of road building, combined with spatial planning approaches has resulted in dispersed land use, with population growth in car-dependent outer urban and suburban areas as inner-city populations declined. The report concludes that “both these dynamics (induced car demand and urban sprawl) erode the attractiveness of sustainable modes”.

It is not sufficient for the well-understood effects of induced demand to be ignored, and if induced demand effects were adequately modelled, it is possible that a different scheme design would have been chosen: section 3.3.6 does not account for the increased induced demand that a Type 2 carriageway would cause, because the fixed demand modelling assumes that demand will be the same in all cases.

I would like to suggest that the Applicant is requested for further information to adequately model the induced demand that will be caused by this scheme. Such modelling should be calibrated against actual induced demand that has been caused by the construction of previous road schemes in the State. If induced demand effects are successfully modelled, it would require many sections of the EIAR to be updated, including the chapter on climate.

I would suggest that significant induced demand effects could be mitigated by a lower capacity and design speed, for example a single rather than a dual carriageway with a lower speed limit.

Thank you for considering my submission.


Link to scheme page on the An Bord Pleanála website

Submission on Section 38, Abbey Street Scheme, Nenagh

I would like to make a submission on the proposed Section 38 scheme at Abbey Street, Nenagh. This submission is made in a personal capacity.

I’d like to welcome the proposal to restrict vehicles from this section of Abbey Street. I have had a number of close calls with cars while walking through the arch, especially coming out of the laneway onto Kenyon Street. This measure will have a positive impact on the town centre, and will make Abbey St a nicer place to walk and to shop. Vehicles will still have access to Abbey St from the Martyr’s Road side, but this measure will stop the street being used as a shortcut for private vehicles.

I would like to make one suggestion, that consideration be made to adding a supplementary P050 EXCEPT CYCLISTS plate to the RUS 011 NO STRAIGHT AHEAD sign so that people on bikes would be legally permitted to use the archway, as per the Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 5 pages 17 and 50. An alternative sign could be RUS 058 (Ch 5 p 41).

The reason I make this suggestion is that I take the 7 year-old swimming every Saturday morning. Sometimes we walk but sometimes we cycle, and it would be helpful to be able to go through from Kenyon street on the bike on the way to the leisure centre. Our alternative route via Pearse St is quite dangerous for a young child on a bike.

Link to scheme consultation page

Submission on Part 8 Nenagh Historic and Cultural Quarter

Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission on this scheme, which is made in a personal capacity. The scope of this submission is limited to the footpath upgrades proposed as part of this scheme.

The Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets (DMURS) is the principal design manual for urban roads and streets and is mandatory when providing new or modifying existing urban roads and streets within the 60 km/h urban speed limit zone.

DMURS states that the absolute minimum for footpath width is 1.8m, and that wider footpaths should be provided where pedestrian activity is higher (for example 3.0m for areas of moderate to high pedestrian activity.)

It is unacceptable that footpath widths of less than 1.0m are proposed on Emmet Place and Silver Street as part of this scheme, as is illustrated by the drawing extracts below:

Drawing of Emmet Place Nenagh showing proposed substandard footpath widths

Drawing of Silver Street, Nenagh showing proposed substandard footpath widths

This will result in an unsafe environment for users of the street, especially for people using wheelchairs, mobility aids and buggies.

There is no need for such substandard and unsafe footpath widths. This Part 8 scheme could easily be amended to reallocate road space away from vehicles to provide footpath widths that are safe and conform to the relevant design standards. 

No DMURS quality audit was published for either this Part 8 scheme or the earlier Section 38 scheme introducing a two-lane one-way system for motorised traffic. It should be noted that such an audit is mandated for works on public roads (ref: Department of Transport National (Infrastructure) Guidelines and Standards Group, Circular 2 of 2022 and Circular 3 of 2022).

It is also unfortunate that in the public consultation report for the Section 38 scheme it was noted that road space reallocation would be considered as part of this public realm scheme. I cannot see any places where this reallocation of space has been made, or even where it was considered. The result of the two schemes, if implemented, will be streets dominated by the private car, and unsafe for other users of the street.

Nenagh deserves better than two lanes for cars and footpaths narrower than one metre, where you will struggle to walk side by side. This is contrary to DMURS, the national Sustainable Mobility Policy, and the Tipperary County Development Plan, which states “10G: Through Council own development, such as public realm upgrading and regeneration programmes, seek to encourage the following principles; (a) Implement improvements to facilitate pedestrians and cyclists and to improve access for people with mobility needs”.

Submission on Part 8 Former Rialto Cinema to Digital and Enterprise Hub Nenagh

Welcome for the scheme

I would like to welcome the proposal to bring the Rialto cinema back into use. The planned refurbishment is sensitive to the building’s heritage and the enterprise centre will be a fantastic addition to Nenagh.

Road safety audit

The road safety audit is inadequate. The audit does not take into account the place functions of the streets adjacent to the development, and represents a vehicle-centric approach which is inappropriate for a development of this kind in an urban centre like Nenagh. It is unfortunate that a DMURS quality audit was not undertaken.

Poor frontage on to Emmet Place

There is poor frontage onto Emmet Place with just an entrance to the car park and a long wall.  it is unfortunate that this project does not do more to activate the street. Further opening up of the Emmet Street side could enhance the environment of the street, especially if combined with pedestrian permeability measures outlined below.

Car parking

The application outlines the multitude of off-street car parking spaces within a few minutes’ walk of the site and it is unfortunate that a decision was made to provide private car parking spaces within the footprint of the site. This compromises the Emmet Place side of the scheme. One or two disabled parking spaces and a loading bay should have been sufficient for a development of this type in this location.

Opportunity missed to provide permeability through the site

There is a natural desire line between St. Mary’s Secondary School and Kenyon Street that runs through the site as an alternative to walking through Hanly’s Place. Although there is a pinch point at the corner of the building with an adjacent property, it should still be possible to open up the site so that it is permeable for pedestrians coming from Ashe Road to Emmet Place.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this submission, which is made in a personal capacity.

Link to Part 8 application

Submission on the draft Tipperary County Council Climate Action Plan 2024-2029

Our greenhouse gas emissions in Tipperary are staggeringly high. We have higher per capita emissions than any other country in the EU, higher than China, Russia and the USA. If Tipperary were a country, our per capita emissions would be one of the highest in the world, ranking alongside the worst-polluting petrostates:

Country Per capita emissions (tonnes/person 2018)
Kuwait 31.34
United Arab Emirates 29.03
Kazakhstan 23.33
Co. Tipperary 22.09
Saudi Arabia 21.81
USA 18.88
Estonia (highest in EU) 17.36
Russia 15.96
Ireland 11.26
Germany 9.98
China 8.74
EU-27 8.19
Africa (whole continent) 3.62

Country data from Our World in Data and includes LULUCF. Co. Tipperary per capita emissions derived by dividing the total emissions (3 703 400 tonnes) by the preliminary population for 2022 noted in the draft Climate Action Plan (167 661).

The publishing of total emissions for County Tipperary in the draft Climate Action Plan is welcome, however it is difficult to understand the figure of total emissions of 3,703.4 kt of CO2eq (the unit of kilotonnes is missing from page 32) without providing some context. I would like to suggest that some more context is given in the final version of the plan, possibly with international comparisons like in the table above, illustrating that if the rest of the world was as polluting as our county, the world would have a few short decades left before most of it became inhabitable.


The 7,404 farms in Co. Tipperary (CSO, 2022) are the source of 1,849 kilotonnes of CO2eq emissions. 90% of Irish beef and dairy produce is exported. I would like to suggest that actions be developed with the Local Enterprise Office and other agencies to support greater value-added processes in Tipperary, perhaps following the success of products such as Cashel Blue cheese, to encourage a shift away from exporting internationally-traded commodity products such as Skimmed Milk Powder, and towards a more premium product that can potentially provide a better return to farmers. There are currently over 100 organic farms in Tipperary (Farmers Journal) and I would like to suggest that a market development programme for organic produce be developed in the county to help existing organic farmers to find a market for their produce which may also encourage conventional farms to convert to organic (and which would result in a reduction in agriculture emissions due to lower stocking rates on organic farms).


Tipperary County Council is the roads authority for all public non-national roads in the county, in addition all the permissions for the recent expansions of the national road network in the county – for example the M7, M8, N24 and N52 – were applied for by Tipperary County Council and its predecessors, despite being funded by Transport Infrastructure Ireland and predecessor agencies.

The Environmental Impact Statements for the major road schemes in the county presented by the Council all showed a ‘steady state’ volume of traffic, the new roads schemes, many of which bypassed towns, were predicted to simply divert traffic away from the towns with little or no net increase in traffic. Unfortunately this did not turn out to be the case and volumes have significantly increased on the road network, especially on motorways, far in excess of national roads elsewhere in the country that did not see improvements. This has been a contributor to the rise in transport emissions in Tipperary.

I would like to suggest that an action be added to the Climate Action Plan that Tipperary County Council perform a retrospective evaluation of all major road schemes developed in the name of the council over the past few decades, including the road schemes mentioned above, to evaluate the climate impact of these schemes (by comparing the increase in traffic volumes along the corridor of the schemes with other national roads elsewhere in the country that were unimproved), which appears to have been significantly underestimated in the Environmental Impact Statements produced by Tipperary County Council in ‘support’ of the schemes. Such a retrospective evaluation could improve future Environmental Impact Statements and better inform the development of future road programmes. An example of such an evaluation on the carbon impact of new road schemes in the UK is available from Transport for Quality of Life (PDF).

I would also like to suggest that a fresh analysis of the induced demand potential of all road schemes proposed in the county development plan and local area plans be performed to evaluate the negative climate impact of facilitating more traffic in the county, preferably assisted by the analysis suggested above. Recent urban traffic schemes, for example the recent Section 38 permission obtained by Tipperary County Council to expand capacity for private cars in the centre of Nenagh with a two-lane one-way system was not published with any analysis of traffic or emissions impact, and suggestions in the public consultation process to change the scheme to allocate space for more sustainable transport modes such as walking and cycling were not taken up.

Finally, I would like to suggest an amendment to the action on transport hubs: to change the wording from Support the delivery of an ‘Integrated Transport Hub’ in the Key Towns of Clonmel, Nenagh and Thurles to incorporate and support multi-modal services… to Support the delivery of an ‘Integrated Transport Hub’ in the Key Towns of Clonmel, Nenagh and Thurles to incorporate and support multi-modal services while supporting the maintaining of the existing public transport stops in the centre of these townsin order to make sure that current and prospective public transport users are not inconvenienced by the moving of bus stops to more peripheral locations to facilitate private car traffic, as has recently been proposed in Nenagh.

While I think there are other areas worthy of inclusion in the Climate Action Plan, in particular around settlement patterns and one-off housing and the greater facilitation of solar and onshore wind, the main point I would like to make is that there is a lack of urgency in the draft. This year the World Health Organisation said that Life-threatening hunger caused by climate shocks, violent insecurity and disease in the Horn of Africa, have left nearly 130,000 people “looking death in the eyes” and nearly 50 million facing crisis levels of food insecurity. We need to acknowledge that Tipperary is contributing to the problem of climate change far in excess of Irish, European and global norms and we need to take real action to reverse some of our mistakes and to take responsibility as a wealthy and prosperous county to right some of the wrongs we are inflicting on the world.

Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission on the draft climate action plan. This submission is made on a personal basis and does not represent the views of any other organisation, including my employer.

Nenagh Local Area Plan and Local Transport Plan submission

Local Area Plan

I have a general comment about the pattern of development of Nenagh, and that is that the focus of development in Nenagh appears to be at the edge of the town. Recent housing developments in Drummin Village and the Fiserv building on the Limerick Road are two examples of recent developments that, while welcome from the perspective of housing and employment respectively, are located quite a distance from the town centre and are designed to be primarily accessed by private car. The traditional layout of Nenagh is compact and sustainable, but these recent developments have served to undermine this. I worry that the pattern of zoned lands in the Local Area Plan will continue to support sprawl at the edge of town, especially as Greenfield development will be cheaper for property developers than building on any of the brownfield sites identified in the Local Area Plan.

A recent local newspaper article about the proposed digital hub on the Rialto cinema site quoted a local authority official saying “It had been planned for Stereame but that had been shot down by the Department as it was not town centre”. The bias towards out-of-town development has worrying implications for the future sustainability of the town and goes against many national, regional and county-level policies on consolidating our town centres and the principle of compact growth. I do not know what specific measure in the Local Area Plan could help counteract this bias, but perhaps it would be helpful to engage with local authority officials who view locations like Stereame as suitable for digital hubs and software development companies, to see what guidance would encourage them to site (and encourage others to site) such developments in the town centre. Certainly the descriptions of the Stereame and Lisbunny sites in the Local Area Plan leave the reader with the impression that the development of large-scale employment is not encouraged within the town centre (or in locations where employees could comfortably walk into town on their lunch break), notwithstanding the principle stated that new offices should have easy employee access.

A lot of land in Nenagh is given over to car parking, both on-street and off-street. I would like to propose a specific opportunity site in the Kenyon St car park. The car park already has recently-built commercial units at its far end, and replacing the car parking with a mixed housing/employment development, with additional permeability for active travel towards Silver St and Stafford St, would be a positive development for the town. Any need for more parking displaced by the closure of Kenyon St car park could be accommodate on sites further out of town.

Local Transport Plan

It is difficult to see the rationale for the “Nenagh Traffic Management Plan” which was submitted as a Section 38 development four months before the Local Transport Plan was released. No traffic modelling, road safety audit, or any other narrative document was made available with this traffic management plan, it was just a set of drawings. The Local Transport Plan just seems to accept the introduction of this plan, accompanied by a statement “Over the longer term horizon of the LTP, further enhancements to the proposed one-way system may be feasible through reallocation of road space for public realm upgrades and further provision for active modes”, which is a relatively weak commitment compared to other measures proposed in the plan.

The problem with this traffic management plan is that it creates a severance in the middle of Nenagh for active travel users. Some footpaths covered by this management plan will be under the DMURS minimum of 1.8m in width, and cyclists will have to navigate dangerous two-lane one-way streets. I live on Sarsfield Street, we have two boys aged 7 and 10. The new traffic management plan will negatively impact on our ability to encourage independent mobility for these kids. For example, I take the 7 year-old to swimming lessons in the council swimming pool by the town park. We were just getting to the stage where we were able to cycle on the road for part of the journey to the pool. I don’t think it will be safe for me to cycle with him in the new layout: we would be forced to try and navigate two lanes of cars going the same direction, with no facilities at all to help him make his journey through the town centre. Equally I was hoping that it would be possible for the boys to cycle themselves to the train station in the future: that journey will be made much less safe as a result of the traffic management plan, and may prevent them making this journey at all.

Furthermore, the aim of the Nenagh Traffic Management Plan is stated in the Transport Plan to “reduce congestion” which is another way of saying “increase capacity for the private car”. I don’t believe this is compatible with the national, regional and county-level commitments to reduce emissions and reduce dependency on the private car.

I would like to suggest a new measure to try and ensure that the redesign of this facility is encouraged as a priority:

ATx: Priority reallocation of road space on the new Nenagh Traffic Management Plan towards active modes to provide safe segregated routes for active travel users and to mitigate against the increased capacity for private cars being introduced in the town centre.

Active travel network

Aside from the severance in the town centre caused by the Nenagh Traffic Management Plan, I would like to welcome the active travel network proposed. If implemented over the period of the plan it would have a positive effect on the town, especially for the 1 in 5 households in Nenagh who do not own a car (Census 2016). Some of the visualisations in the Plan are excellent with bevelled entrance kerbs and no height change for pedestrians and cyclists crossing side entrances. It might be worth incorporating these design elements as a specific action for any new measures built, to avoid the usual ‘dipping’ of footpaths at side entrances and severance of cycle facilities at junctions.

Public transport network

The transport plan does not propose to remove the town centre bus stops and I would like to welcome this measure. The narrative in local media from council meetings quoting local authority officials that I have read emphasised that buses were getting in the way of cars. I never saw any discussion reported on how more people can be encouraged to use public transport. I have reservations about the proposed mobility hub, in light of the above, but as long as buses are stopping in the middle of town where services are accessible to more people, some additional rail/bus integration may be helpful.


The proposed roads do not seem to meet the criteria for new roads outlined in the local transport plan. I could not see any specific mitigating measures being proposed that would counteract the induced demand for more traffic as a result of such schemes. I would support the HGV ban, although I do not see the building of additional roads as necessary to facilitate this ban.

For sale: 2014 Nissan Leaf in Tipperary, 53k km, 24 kWh, 12/12 battery bars

I’m selling my mum’s Nissan Leaf, she has bought a new EV.

Very low mileage and still has all 12/12 battery health bars. Indicated range 140km, dependent on driving style and temperature. I own a Leaf myself and I’m happy to advise if the range is suitable for the type of trips you make.

a white Nissan Leaf car

It’s a great car, ridiculously cheap to run and utterly reliable, so good I bought Leaf of my own a year after my mum bought hers!

  • NCT 01/25
  • Tax 09/23
  • Main dealer serviced 03/23
  • Consumption meter shows average electricity consumption of 14.1 kWh/100km – that’s €3.04 per 100km on Electric Ireland’s current night electricity plan if you charge it overnight

Dashboard of a Nissan Leaf, showing 99% battery charge, 142km indicated range, and 12/12 battery health indicators


  • Reversing camera
  • USB Aux
  • Bluetooth
  • Cruise control/speed limiter
  • Air conditioning
  • CHAdeMO DC fast charging port
  • Type 2 cable for use with public chargers
  • ‘Granny’ cable for plugging into the mains for slow charging


  • Handbrake can rub for the first few km if it hasn’t been driven in a while
  • Outer plastic on driver’s door handle can become loose (doesn’t affect ability to open door)
  • A few paint cuffs on the driver’s side (pictured)

If you have a driveway in your home you will qualify for a SEAI grant of up to €600 for a home charger:

Front of a white Nissan Leaf Rear quarter of a white Nissan Leaf Rear of a white Nissan Leaf Boot of a Nissan Leaf, showing Type 2 cable and granny cable Rear seats of a Nissan Leaf Dealer sticker from Pat Tiernan Motors, showing next service 03/24 Tax and NCT discs, tax expiring Sept 2023, NCT expiring January 2025 Touch screen interface of Nissan Leaf Cockpit of a Nissan Leaf Front wheel of a Nissan Leaf

A rail fares calculator to examine the National Fares Strategy

The National Transport Authority released a National Fares Strategy summary document on 27 April 2023, which indicates the approach that will be taken to calculating fares for rail and bus services outside the Dublin metropolitan area in the future. Fares will be calculated according to a simple formula:

Fare = Boarding Charge + Distance [as the crow flies] Based Fare

To help illustrate this, I’ve put together a calculator for intercity rail journeys. You can change the value for the boarding charge and the distance based fare and see how fares compare to the existing cash fare. Fares are taken from the Rail Users Ireland Irish Rail Fare Calculator and represent the maximum fare payable: cheaper fares are often available online and the National Fares Strategy document has indicated that this will continue to be the case. Distances (as crow flies) from the Google Maps API.

To be clear I have no insight into what the boarding charge or distance based fare will be, and the defaults here are chosen fairly randomly. I just thought it’d be interesting to put together a tool to illustrate what the potential impact on specific journeys would be.

Feel free to contact me if you’d like more journey pairs added to the table or if you see any errors.

Change the values and hit recalculate to see updated new fares and % change in the table below:

Boarding charge (in cent):

Distance based fare (cent per km [as crow flies]):

From To km Old New %
Limerick Dublin 173 €38.25
Cork Dublin 217 €47.35
Galway Dublin 183 €29.30
Waterford Dublin 132 €26.15
Kilkenny Dublin 99 €20.80
Athlone Dublin 109 €20.80
Sligo Dublin 176 €31.85
Tralee Dublin 258 €49.45
Wexford Dublin 112 €25.05
Dundalk Dublin 73 €17.20
Nenagh Dublin 137 €24.75
Cahir Dublin 153 €29.30
Ballina Dublin 206 €33.30
Nenagh Cork 108 €28.30
Nenagh Limerick 36 €10.45
Clonmel Waterford 40 €10.45
Ennis Limerick 31 €9.10
Ennis Galway 48 €15.75
Limerick Galway 74 €18.40
Cork Limerick 84 €20.05
Claremorris Ballina 44 €11.20
Dundalk Drogheda 32 €9.10
Limerick Junction Limerick 33 €9.10
Athenry Galway 20 €6.55
Charleville Cork 51 €13.55
Carrick On Shannon Sligo 44 €13.20
Kilkenny Waterford 43 €11.20
Enniscorthy Wexford 19 €6.55
Killarney Tralee 27 €9.10
Tullamore Athlone 33 €8.35
Carlow Kilkenny 29 €10.45

Submission on the Proposed Traffic Calming Measures on Pearse Street, Mitchel Street, Emmet Place, Kickham Street and Silver Street, Nenagh

Link to scheme proposal; deadline for submissions Wed, 26/04/2023 – 16:30

Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission on the Proposed Traffic Calming Measures on Pearse Street, Mitchel Street, Emmet Place, Kickham Street and Silver Street, Nenagh, which I make in a personal capacity.

I would like to welcome the proposed raised zebra crossings as part of this scheme. I believe their introduction will result in an improved walking environment in the centre of Nenagh. As a compact thriving town which has the potential to grow and thrive over the period of the new County Development Plan Nenagh has an exciting future ahead of it and the focus on the four streets that serve as the central circulation route for people who walk, cycle, take public transport and drive through Nenagh is welcome. Unfortunately there was no rationale provided for this scheme, only a series of drawings; and any plans proposed under previous County Development Plans to change traffic circulation in Nenagh are no longer available online to the public. I have some reservations about the increase in capacity for private vehicles in the centre of Nenagh that will result from this scheme, and the compatibility of this scheme with statutory plans, which I have detailed below.

Premature introduction of this scheme ahead of Nenagh Local Transport Plan

I took part in the survey last year, which invited input ahead of “delivery of a Local Transport Plan for Nenagh will identify the key infrastructural requirements of the Town and prioritise the transport interventions required in the plan area as the Town grows and develops over the next 10 years”. At the time of the consultation last year, there was a commitment to publish a draft Local Transport Plan for Nenagh later in 2022. While I understand that the publication of the draft plan has been delayed, I suggest that this scheme is premature as it will define private vehicle traffic flows through the centre of Nenagh. Pausing this scheme to take account of an agreed Local Transport Plan, as recommended in the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region, would allow any scheme to change traffic flows in the centre of Nenagh (which have been unchanged since Kickham Street was the main road for traffic from Limerick, Clare, Kerry and North Tipperary to Dublin) to be supported by best practice and the provisions of the County Development Plan.

Compatibility with Tipperary County Development Plan 2022-2028

Modal shift targets [County Development Plan Policy 12-1 (a)]

(a) Support the achievement of the modal shift targets set out in Table 12.1 Modal Share Targets to apply to Tipperary, and require new development to demonstrate and ensure that land-use, connectivity and transportation are integrated in a manner which reduces reliance on car-based travel, promotes more sustainable transport choice, and co-ordinates particular land uses with their accessibility requirements.

It is not clear how this scheme is compatible with the latest adopted Development Plan for County Tipperary. The scheme will result in an increase in capacity for vehicles travelling through Nenagh town centre, and there is no provision for cycle facilities in the scheme. This appears to be in conflict with the modal shift target in Table 12.1 of the Development Plan which seeks to reduce the modal share of trips by car and van from 71% to 45% and to increase the modal share of trips by bicycle from 0.76% to 10%. Nenagh is Tipperary’s second largest town and if no provision is made for segregated cycling infrastructure in the middle of the town, it is difficult to see how this is compatible with the County Development Plan. 

Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets and National Sustainable Mobility Policy [County Development Plan Policy 12-1 (b)]

(b) Apply the principles of the National Sustainable Mobility Policy (DoT, 2022), the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets (DTTS and DHPLG, 2019) and the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets Interim Advice Note – Covid-19 Pandemic Response (2020).

The Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets (DMURS), adopted in the development plan, specifically cautions against one-way systems like the one proposed in this scheme:

One-way streets have also been widely implemented, retrospectively, in order to filter vehicle permeability and relieve traffic congestion. The use of one-way systems for traffic management should also be approached with caution by designers as they:

  • Promote faster speeds as drivers are likely to drive faster when no risk is perceived from oncoming traffic.
  • Will result in longer vehicular journeys, including those for cyclists and public transport.
  • Can be confusing for users when they deflect people away from destinations.
  • Require additional signage.

Conversion to one-way systems may be beneficial on narrow carriageways where the street reserve is limited in order to provide additional space for pedestrians, cyclists and other public realm improvements. Counter flow cycle lanes should also be considered in order to maintain permeability for cyclists Examples include Centres where the implementation of a one-way system has direct placemaking benefits as it allows for additional footpath width and/or on-street parking (see Figure 3.24).

The proposed scheme proposes no reallocation of road space to more sustainable modes and there is no evidence that consideration has been made to provide additional space for pedestrians, cyclists and other public realm improvements. Examples exist in other local authority areas where Section 38 of the Road Traffic Act has been used to reallocate road space away from the private car towards walking and cycling.

It is a specific aim of the National Sustainability Policy to reallocate road space in urban centres away from the private car towards more sustainable modes: “rebalancing transport movement in metropolitan areas and other urban centres away from the private car and towards active travel and public transport.” It is difficult to see how the implementation of this scheme as proposed is compatible with this aim.

Integrated pedestrian and cycling networks and infrastructure [County Development Plan Policy 12-1 (c)]

(c) Development proposals shall be required to provide for well-integrated pedestrian and cycling networks and infrastructure, such as cycle parking, as part of their planning application and ‘Sustainability Statement’, where applicable, the development management standards Volume 3 will apply.

The draft CycleConnects Network published by the National Transport Authority included both an interurban cycle network throughout County Tipperary and a series of urban cycle networks for towns in the county, including Nenagh. The proposed scheme includes streets that are part of the proposed network: Pearse Street and Mitchel Street are designated as primary cycle routes (in red), and Emmet Place and Kickham Street are designated as secondary cycle routes (in blue). Without cycle infrastructure on these streets which represent key destinations in the centre of Nenagh, it is difficult to see how Nenagh can support a quality cycle network as envisioned under CycleConnects and supported by the Tipperary County Development Plan.

Map of Nenagh showing primary cycle routes along Pearse Street and Mitchel Street and secondary cycle routes along Emmet Place and Kickham Street

Accessibility for people with disabilities [County Development Plan Policy 12-1 (d)]

(d) To apply a ‘whole journey approach’ to make public transport fully accessible to people with disabilities’, this refers to all elements that constitute a journey from the starting point to destination including footpaths, tactile paving, cycle paths, roads, pedestrian crossing points, town greenways and bus stops/shelters in line with relevant Guidance from the Department of Transport.

The inclusion of bollards in the new proposed bus stop on Pearse Street are a cause of concern. Specifically, the bollards will restrict the approach of buses to the bus stop and in the event of obstructions or existing buses being stopped at the bus stop, may prevent low-floor buses from pulling up at the kerb in a manner that will enable the deployment of a ramp to assist people with disabilities to board or leave their bus. It is strongly recommended that these bollards are omitted from the plan as they may result in a reduction in accessibility for people using public transport to and from Nenagh.

The maintaining of the narrow footpath width on Emmet Place at less than 1.8m is below the minimum mandated by DMURS, which states that 1.8m is the minimum width necessary to allow two standard wheelchairs to pass each other. It is not clear whether there is room on Emmet Place to accommodate two lanes of traffic and cater for a minimum footpath width, never mind a greater width more appropriate for an urban centre close to many trip destinations.

BusConnects Limerick: submission on proposed bus network

Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission on the proposed BusConnects network for Limerick City, which I am making in a personal capacity. I’d like to compliment the project team on how they have run this consultation, in particular the wide range of materials produced, the in-person and online consultation events which provided an opportunity for people to learn more and feed back their suggestions. The use of Irish Sign Language interpreters at two of the in-person events is an initiative that is particularly welcome.

I’d like to express my broad support for the BusConnects network for Limerick, the increased frequency and coverage will make Limerick a better place to live, work and receive an education. With associated infrastructural changes, this network plan provides the basis for the bus to become the main form of transport for many people across the city, instead of a last resort option taken by those who have no other choice.

Schaffhausen, Switzerland  (pop. 37k)

There is one area for improvement that I would like to highlight, and that is the lack of integration between the proposed routes, and in particular the decision to route two of the four high-frequency routes away from the main bus and rail station on Parnell Street.

I believe this arrangement is not consistent with bus networks in other small European cities with bus modal share far in excess of the modal share in Limerick. I have given three examples together with route network maps in this document.

In these examples, all significant bus routes interchange at the train station. It should be noted that in these examples the train stations are also slightly peripheral to the city centre, as is the case in Limerick.

Having all routes meet at the train station would offer interchange from and to a single bus route to:

  • Other city routes

    Map of the bus network in Dunquerque, with all routes meeting at the train station
    Dunquerque, France (pop. 87k)
  • Rural bus routes including those delivered under the National Transport Authority’s Connecting Ireland programme, which represents the largest increase in rural public transport in Ireland in decades 
  • Intercity Expressway bus routes to Cork, Galway, Waterford, Killarney, Tralee and further afield
  • Intercity train services to Dublin, Cork, Galway and Castleconnell/Birdhill/Nenagh/Cloughjordan/Roscrea

Having all routes meet at a single point would offer crucial legibility to the city bus network, where passengers could be confident that they can transfer to any route by going to a single transfer point. 

Map of the bus network in Jena, Germany
Jena, Germany (pop 111k)

The only significant Transport-Oriented Development scheme planned for Limerick City is the scheme proposed by the Land Development Agency (LDA) around Colbert station, which the LDA has estimated could produce 2,800 residential units. It is appropriate to serve such a site with all the high-frequency city bus routes given the proposed population size and density.

Serving the bus and rail station need not need a large detour for buses.  For example, changing the path of route 4 involves a very small increase in route distance as can be seen in the diagram below. If route 4 was routed via Mulgrave St and Childers Rd as the current 304 is (and which would offer greater road width for bus segregation), the route via the station would be even shorter than a route serving O’Connell St. 

Map showing alternative routes for route 4 in Limerick, with one serving the train station

In conclusion I would once again like to welcome the proposed network, and to express my support for a small tweak to routes 2 and 4 so that they could directly serve Colbert Station.