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Draft government agreement commits to spending €360m a year on cycling and pedestrian projects

The programme still needs to be voted on by party members.

THE DRAFT PROGRAMME for government agreed by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party commits to investment in a number of areas of transport infrastructure, including €360 million a year for cycling and pedestrian projects. 

The leaders of the three parties have been meeting in recent days to hammer out the details of the agreement, which will now be put to their party members for approval. 

The agreement commits to an allocation of 10% of the total transport capital budget for cycling projects and an allocation of 10% for pedestrian infrastructure, totalling €360 million per year for the lifetime of the government. 

Each local authority will be immediately mandated to carry out an assessment of their road network to see where space can be reallocated for pedestrians and cyclists.

They will also promote cycling and pedestrian safety “through improved design, increased separation and better signage and marking”.

A review of road traffic policy and legislation to prioritise the safety of walking and cycling would also be carried out. 

The programme commits to “dramatically” increasing the number of children walking and cycling to primary and secondary school. This includes ramping up the Cycle Right programme to ensure all children are offered cycling training in primary school. 

The draft agreement also commits to:

  • Lead the development of an integrated national greenways strategy.
  • Widening the eligibility of the Bike to Work scheme, providing an increased allowance for e-bikes and cargo bikes;
  • Legislating for e-scooters and e-bikes;
  • A 2:1 ratio of expenditure between new public transport infrastructure and new roads;
  • Prioritising plans for the delivery of Metrolink, Luas and other light rail expansion, DART expansion and interconnector and Bus Connects in Dublin, Cork, Galway, and Limerick.
  • A national integrated public transport system with an integrated timetable, one tag-on ticketing system and coordination between bus and rail timetables of all operators;
  • Policies to incentivise the use of electric vehicles on the roads;
  • Enabling schools and workplaces to stagger opening and closing times;
  • A pilot to examine the potential for ride-sharing apps to improve rural connectivity.

Although there will be spending on roads, under these plans the focus would be on the development of public transportation infrastructure. This would include also reviewing fare structures for public transport.

The National Transport Authority would be tasked with producing a park-and-ride plan for each of the five cities, with integrated car park facilities and public transport and cycling networks. This should also include the provision of secure lockers for bicycles, the plan states.

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The agreement also promises the introduction of a public transport service standard “under which all settlements over a certain size in terms of population, combined with employment or education places, will have a service connecting them to the national public transport system”.

This document – titled “Our Shared Future” – will now put to each of the three parties’ membership to vote on, and if all three parties approve it, the next government will be formed by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens.

Under the deal, Micheál Martin will serve as Taoiseach until December 2022 when the role will rotate back to Leo Varadkar

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