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A cycle lane on Custom House Quay, Dublin Alamy Stock Photo
Active travel

€289 million allocated to walking, cycling, and Safe Routes to School for 2022

The funding is split between constructing new facilities, upgrading old ones, and programmes like Smarter Travel and Green Schools.

LOCAL AUTHORITIES ARE set to receive €289 million this year to spend on walking and cycling infrastructure to encourage sustainable travel.

Projects that are due to de delivered in 2022 include the Clontarf to City Centre route in Dublin, MacCurtain Street in Cork, O’Connell Street in Limerick, the Salmon Weir Bridge in Galway, and the connection of the Waterford Greenway from Bilberry into the city centre.

The Hanover Pedestrian and Cycle Scheme in Carlow and the N63 pedestrian and cycle scheme in Longford are also set to benefit from the funding, alongside around 1,200  other cycling and walking projects in development.

The Department of Transport confirmed the active travel funding today, which is split between constructing new facilities, upgrading old ones, and programmes like Smarter Travel and Green Schools.

The majority of the funding – €248,800,000 – has been allocated to constructing new active travel infrastructure.

That includes the cost of studies, implementing traffic management measures, bus priority facilities and multi-modal corridors to facilitate shifting to sustainable modes of transport.

More than two-fifths of that will be invested in the Greater Dublin Area, with €92,000,000 going to regional cities and €43,000,000 to rural counties.

Another €8,800,000 will benefit programmes like Safe Routes to School, Regional Bikes and Cycling Design Offices.

In a statement, Minister of State for Road Transport Hildegarde Naughton said that “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”.

Separately, €37,950,000 has been allocated for the upgrade and renewal of existing active travel infrastructure, the largest proportion of which – €28,950,000 – will be used in the Greater Dublin Area. €2,500,000 has been earmarked for regional cities and €6,500,000 for rural counties.

€1,650,000 is going to the Green Schools programme, which is to go towards “staff costs, back office setup, awards, conferences, cycle training, research and secondary schools development”.

Smarter Travel, a programme supporting sustainable travel in workplaces and third level institutions, is to receive €600,000.

Minister for Transport and the Environment Eamon Ryan said that he wants “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,” Ryan said.

The minister said he will “be bringing forward further amendments to the Road Traffic and Roads bill in the coming weeks, which will also enable them to 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.”

CEO of the National Transport Authority Anne Graham said that the funding “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,” Graham said.

“We will work with our partners in the local authorities to ensure that the projects announced today become a reality as soon as possible,” she said.

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