Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan have revealed a draft 3,500km National Cycle Network plan aimed at a mix of commuting, leisure and tourism.
This follows Minister Ryan last year appointing Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to lead the development of a new National Cycle Network. Little progress was made on the previous network.
After the feedback from the just started public consultation process is fed into the plan, the Department of Transport said that it is expected that the plan will go back to Minister Ryan for ministerial approval in Quarter 3 this year.
The Department said that it will then “move quickly into implementation phase”. But the reality is that many of the routes are already been progressed by councils as inter-urban greenways.
The National Cycle Network includes a mix of existing greenways, planned greenways and other proposed cycle routes.
UPDATED at 5.15pm: In response to a question about the legibility of the public consultation map, Richard Bowen at TII said: “The mapping deliberately shows 4km wide corridors, which inevitably leads to some overlap between corridors in certain areas.”
He said: “This is because we cannot specify at this early stage the exact routes that will be followed as the Public Spending Code, Environmental Impact Assessment and proper Project Management all require us to look at a number of options for each route. This detailed route selection work will be done during the implementation phase of the project. The map at present is indicative of potential routes at this early stage of the process.”
There is expected to be a greater focus on enabling people to easily cycle to the centre of villages, towns and cities, for transport and not just leisure and tourism.
The Department said that it expects that local authorities will build most of the network.
In a press release, Minister Ryan said: “The expansion of our cycling network is key to enabling everyone, young and old, urban and rural, to enjoy and make the switch to cycling. Whilst we will continue to invest in Greenways like the Galway to Dublin route currently under development, this is not only about providing cycleways for long-distance cyclists. This proposed network’s focus is on everyday travel and use – connecting village to village, town to village, city to town.”
He added: “It’s another step in connecting our communities, to enable and encourage as many of us as possible to choose the bike when travelling. The network will connect into other sustainable transport modes, enabling further onward travel using the bus, train and by walking”.
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The public consultation is to run from today, Wednesday, May 4 to Tuesday, June 7, 2022. Details can be found at ncn.consultation.ai — it’s unclear why the website uses the .ai domain which is for Anguilla, a British Overseas Territory.