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Waterford transport plan needs to aim higher to make it a cycling city, says TD

A transport plan for Waterford needs to aim higher to help the city become a cycling city, a local TD has said.

Public consultation recently ended on the Draft Waterford Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (WMATS).

The NTA has said that it and the Waterford local authority will aim to meet a modal split target of 10 – 15% for cycling up to 2040, but it’s modeling indicates just a 9% modal share.

Waterford TD, Marc O Cathasaigh (Green Party), said: “I think there’s scope to be far more ambitious than this, given the potential of Waterford City to become the leading cycling city in Ireland – we are relatively compact, relatively flat and our weather is better than elsewhere in Ireland.”

“And I think we should aim to be far quicker in the roll-out of cycling infrastructure as well. We’ve seen from the Covid experience, and in Dunlaoighre in particular, how rapidly segregated cycle infrastructure can be rolled out, and what good value for money it can be. With brave decision-making at local council level, we could see modal shift to walking and cycling happen very quickly – the changes that happened at such speed in Paris, for example,” he said.

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Deputy O Cathasaigh said: “I’m pleased to see to see it acknowledged that the modelled outputs within the strategy don’t take into account the positive impacts on active mobility modal share that can come from demand management measures, nor does it take into account behavioural change campaigns, but that doesn’t seem a firm footing to base a transport strategy.”

He added: “I’d also have serious questions whether this transport strategy goes far enough to meet our other commitments – the emissions reduction commitments outlined in the Climate Act, Waterford City’s ambition to decarbonise by 2040 to name just two. The scale of the challenge in terms of the Climate Crisis is of a magnitude that we need policy coherence and aligned goals from central government, from the NTA and from local authorities. I’m not sure I see that coherence in evidence in WMATS.”

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Cian Ginty

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