New €50m walking and cycling fund to open for towns and villages in Ireland

Councils will soon be able to apply for a share of a €50m fund for walking and cycling projects in towns and villages across Ireland, the Minister for Transport has said.

The department of Transport said the funding for for high-quality cycling and walking infrastructure outside of cities and outside the Greater Dublin Area counties.

The Department said in a statement: “Local authority applicants should identify convenient and direct routes for active travel modes, including, and where necessary, aim to reallocate space from motor traffic and car parking. Funded projects should be accessible, age-friendly and maximise comfort to people of all ages and abilities.”

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said: “Since Covid we have seen an increase in cycling and walking, and a reconnection to our local areas as well as some inspired ideas from our local councils. Now is the time to build on that by providing this specific funding for 2021 for high quality cycling and pedestrian infrastructure in towns and villages across the country.”

He added: “We want to facilitate people cycling and walking as part of their daily routine, connecting residential areas with schools, public transport, workplaces and public amenities. We’re looking forward to exciting projects from our local authorities which deliver the kind of segregated paths and other facilities that will encourage more people to walk and cycle.”

Minister of State for roads Hildegarde Naughton said: “The Programme for Government commits to fundamentally changing the nature of transport in Ireland and high-quality active travel infrastructure will play a key part in making that change a reality.

She added: “Today’s announcement provides a great opportunity, particularly for those local authorities who have not yet had the resources to develop Active Travel strategies.”

The Department said that the fund will be administered for the Department of Transport by the National Transport Authority.

Anne Graham CEO of the NTA said: “The number of people who are choosing to get around by Active Travel modes is growing steadily, and we are responding to this by funding local authorities who want to invest in providing new infrastructure and new supports. We will write to the relevant local authorities in the coming days and will be calling on them to engage with us on this.”

She added: “We are particularly keen to ensure that those that do not already have detailed active travel network strategies are given the technical and financial support they need.”

The a Department added that the kinds of project that will be considered are:

  • Development of active travel network strategies
  • Provision of new / widened footpaths or segregated cycle tracks;
  • Reconstruction / renewal of defective footpaths or cycle tracks;
  • Improved crossing facilities for pedestrians/cyclists including raised surfaces, zebra crossings, provision of lighting and signalised crossings;
  • Provision of cycle parking
  • Dishing of footpaths at junctions, raised pedestrian crossings, and reducing road width at crossing points;
  • Closing roads to vehicles, except for access only;
  • Permeability measures to support improved access within and between local communities;
  • Setting appropriate speed limits in accordance with the Guidelines for setting and managing speed limits in Ireland and/or introducing a “Slow Zone”;
  • Pedestrian / cycle bridge rehabilitation works;
  • Design work in respect of the provision of a future pedestrian / cycle bridge.

Local authorities which can apply are: Leinster: Louth, Westmeath, Longford, Offaly, Laois, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford; Munster: Kerry, Tipperary, Clare and rural towns and villages in Cork, Limerick and Waterford; Connacht: Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, and rural towns and villages in Galway; and Ulster: Donegal, Monaghan, Cavan.

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