NTA Investment in Cycling Infrastructure Continues to Expand
The National Transport Authority has published its Sustainable Transport Measures Grants (STMG) annual report detailing a significant increase in spending for 2020, showing the NTA investment in cycling infrastructure. The various projects in the programme include COVID and Stimulus Funding, comprising €72.7m in the Greater Dublin Area, and €35m for regional cities.
The NTA has operated the STMG programme that provides funding to local authorities, public transport bodies and other agencies for various transport projects since 2010.
In addition to the €107m expenditure detailed in the 2020 report, NTA also expects to spend €241million on the STMG programme in 2021, representing a doubling in funding allocated in just a year, and a six-fold increase since 2019.
According to the 2020 report, major projects progressed include the Dundrum and Blackrock enhanced access programmes which introduced a re-arranged one-way system for vehicular traffic, with a contra-flow cycle lane in order to create safer, more accessible spaces.
The Railway Street project in Navan was also progressed, which is part of the first phase of the Navan 2030 Town Scheme and included removal of the one-way traffic system and the introduction of two-way traffic.
The report published today coincides with Bike Week 2021, which encourages the public to use cycling as a way of getting around and to use some of the new schemes announced in the report. Spending for the STMG grant in 2020 included 70km of new or improved cycle lanes, 47km of new or upgraded footpaths and 10km of additional greenway added. In total over 80% of funding across the country went to active travel initiatives such as walking and cycling programmes, representing €87.1m of the total spend for 2020.
The STMG programme aims to improve transport options for those choosing alternatives to the private car. The funding has become an important driver of change within the urban centres across the country.
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD said, “this report shows the government’s commitment to sustainable transport. We are multiplying spending on active travel and investing in safe commuter routes, revitalised town centres, and greenway amenities. By the end of this year we will have seen a six-fold increase of investment in sustainable transport schemes.”
The 2020 report does, however, highlight the uneven progress made by local authorities, and how the funding of walking and cycling officers at local level helps advance more projects in villages, towns, and cities right across the country. We also need to make cost-effective, trial measures a bigger share of projects funded under the STMG programme. Increased spending alone will not solve traffic chaos, it must be matched with vision, courage, and a willingness to embrace proven ways of creating healthier communities.”
Anne Graham CEO of the NTA said about the investment in cycling infrastructure, “the figures contained in today’s report show a really significant increase in our investments in sustainable transport despite the challenges which 2020 has presented. Sustainable transport is becoming more and more popular and we at the NTA are determined to meet this demand. In 2020 we engaged with 7 new local authorities to provide more rural regions with sustainable transport options and we have continued this trend in 2021.”
“In the post-COVID world people are looking for different ways in which to travel and commute and we are listening and responding. I am confident that the work from 2020 and our future sustainable transport measure grants will make travelling sustainably easier and safer than ever before.”
Source: Council Journal