Acceleration in Active Travel Post-COVID
The Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has confirmed that the National Transport Authority (NTA) has allocated funds to Ireland’s local authorities with a view to spending €289 million on active travel infrastructure post-covid.
Projects to be delivered this year include the Clontarf to City Centre route in Dublin, MacCurtain Street in Cork, O’Connell Street in Limerick, the Salmon Weir Bridge in Galway, as well as connection of the Waterford Greenway from Bilberry into the City Centre. These and other projects will make our urban centres more attractive places to live, work and visit. It is good for public health and the environment and promotes the most economic and efficient transport system.
Funding is also being directed to rural local authorities, with circa 1,200 walking and cycling projects being developed by local authorities across the country. Projects include the Hanover Pedestrian and Cycle Scheme in Carlow and the N63 pedestrian and cycle scheme in Longford, among many other examples. This will bring a renewed vibrancy to our regional towns and villages.
Minister Eamon Ryan commented, “it is great to see our investment in active travel starting to bear fruit. I want us to now accelerate delivery of sustainable transport modes as we come out of the majority of COVID restrictions. It is vital that we do not allow a return to gridlock as we come out of the pandemic. We need to use the switch to remote working as an opportunity to reallocate road space to create a safer and more efficient transport system.”
“Local authorities and the NTA have been provided with an unprecedented increase in funding for additional staff for active travel. I will be bringing forward further amendments to the Road Traffic and Roads bill in the coming weeks, which will also enable them progress experimental traffic management schemes and other measures which fast track active travel infrastructure. We need to be quick, to help reduce our climate emissions but also to use this unique moment in time to create a more attractive and safer local environment.”
Minister of State at the Department of Transport Hildegarde Naughton welcomed this meaningful investment stating, “over 1,200 projects across the length and breadth of the country are set to receive targeted funding towards making walking and cycling in our villages, towns and cities safe and sustainable. As we continue to meet our commitment of spending almost €1 million on walking and cycling projects each day, I am particularly happy to confirm that the schools participating in Phase 1 of our new Safe Routes to School Programme will also benefit. With 170 schools currently progressing plans customised to their specific needs and challenges, the Safe Routes to School Programme is delivering infrastructure on the route to and in front of our schools making it easier for children, parents and teachers to safely walk, cycle and scoot to school every day.”
Anne Graham, CEO of the NTA said, “it’s great to be in position once again this year to make such a substantial investment in infrastructure for active travel. The funding we are announcing today will support the provision of walking and cycling facilities in every part of the country. More people than ever want to cycle and walk as part of their daily journey, and it is incumbent on us to encourage them to precisely do that, so they can leave the car behind. This investment will make a big difference, not just in our major cities, but in towns and villages across Ireland. We will work with our partners in the local authorities to ensure that the projects announced today become a reality as soon as possible.”