€41.5m yearly for walking and cycling in Ireland, but Scotland to spend £80m

— Scotland is to start spending £80m per year in the same time frame.
— Falls far short of comparable funding levels in Netherlands — Greens.

A review of the Government’s Capital Plan includes an average spend on walking and cycling routes of €41.5m per year, but the Green Party has said say this falls too short what’s spent in the Netherlands and Denmark, and it’s less than half of the £80m per year Scotland is to spend on walking and cycling.

The new Irish allocation includes €110m for new urban cycling and walking routes in cities and another €56m for greenways over four years. The Department of Transport four-year capital spending plan includes €4.2bn for roads and €2.7bn for public transport, cycling and walking.

There will also be €750m now allocated for the BusConnects programme, a bus network upgrade planned for Dublin. The department said that BusConnects  will include “designated segregated cycle lanes”, but the National Transport Authority has previously outlined how it wants the segregation of different bus services given a higher priority than separating bicycles from buses.

On greenways, the Department of Transport said: “In line with the commitment given in the Programme for Partnership Government, an overarching strategy for the future development of Greenways is in preparation. Greenways are valued by locals and tourists alike and provide many leisure, health and transport benefits. A very substantial €56m will be made available for the development of Greenways over the coming four funding years, to implement recommendations in the upcoming strategy and to complete projects funded under earlier funding rounds, commencing with €3.6m in 2018.”

In international terms, Ireland has a broadly comparable population size (4.773 million people in the Republic of Ireland vs 5.295 million in Scotland).

Councillor Ciarán Cuffe (Green Party) said: “It seems Shane Ross wishes to spend over twice as much on roads as on public transport, cycling and walking. He seems eager to repeat the mistakes of the past by investing in more motorways that will bring car drivers more quickly to the congested roads of our cities. He should reverse the allocation and give walking, cycling and public transport the investment it deserves. Rather than hopping onto a bus once a year, he should get up early in the morning and experience the reality that faces bus commuters every day in our cities and towns.”

He added: “Cycling is a win-win funding measure, but there is little indication that Ross will provide the staffing and funding that we see in progressive countries such as the Netherlands and Denmark.”

Transport minister, Shane Ross, said on Twitter this evening: “To get our cities moving, we need more cycle lanes and more #cyclists. Delighted to have announced today €110 million over 4 years for this.”

UPDATED: This article was updated to give context to the funding by comparing it with Scotland.

5 Comments

  1. It’s not good enough.

  2. It is very easy for them to spend billions on Motorways and make them very quickly but a paltry amount on Cycling. We have at the moment a Snails pace building of Cycle Lanes and Greenways. It takes them many many years to produce any project and then after much Haggling and Fighting against vested interests in big Business and the Motor Lobby and Car Centric Politicians and Councillors.

  3. Obviously the paltry amount allocating to cycling and walking is disappointing but what worries me is HOW they are going to spend this. Faced with such a small budget I am afraid that planners will not even attempt to install any good quality infrastructure and will instead go for painting a few 100km of footpaths with white lines and little bicycle logos. The sort of infrastructure that I think is worse than nothing. Faced with that I’d strongly prefer it if they spent the entire amount just maintaining what decent infrastructure they already have.

    I imagine if you went looking in the right corner of the internet you can already find someone expounding the view “cyclists given MILLIONS of OUR money and still they complain!”.

  4. So we’re getting all sorts of different numbers about how much cycling is going to get per year. The last figures I heard was €27.5 million per year. This €41.5 million per year is much better than that, but is still crap compared to how much the overall budget is. Is still can’t get over the fact that they spend €535 million on one road between Gort and Tuam.

    WTF. €535 MILLION!!

    And for the whole of the country we get this claimed €41.5 million. And that’s for walking AND cycling. And as Eric points out above, and which I wholeheartedly agree with – how is this going to be spent? Is €10million of that going on adverts to victim-blame and proclaim HiViz is the answer to all the ills of the world?

    Whether this €41.5 million a year makes any difference whatsoever all depends on the details and how this paltry amount of money is spent. This amount of money might make a difference if concentrated in one area, such as Dublin (and if coupled with other planning and political decisions), but that leaves the rest of the country wholly under-served and ignored.

    Why do so few people walk and cycle in rural areas? It’s nothing to do with the weather and everything to do with how safe people feel. Rural Ireland is held hostage by the motor-vehicle. It’s horrendous out there on country roads. We need a proper vision by those in power to change the country (not just Dublin).

    I live in Dublin so I can see some of the hard-won facilities we have here (although we definitely need far more), but christalmighty I would be so pissed off with politicians if I lived in the countryside and had to endure rural roads on a daily basis.

  5. i cycled Kilmacthomas – waterford and back a forthnight ago and was met and passed by cycle mounted cops three times .Could some of the money be spent upgrading security on other greenways and get rid of the wretched gates which stop cycleways such as lucan – inchicore becoming a viable commuting route.It is obvious that the powers that be in waterford recognise the asset they have in the greenway and are determined to protect and improve it.

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