Waterford’s 46km Greenway opens for cyclists and walkers

Off-road track, along an old railway, includes coast, viaducts, tunnel and spectacular gorge

t’s been nearly 140 years since business was this brisk at O’Mahony’s pub in Durrow, Co Waterford. During the construction of the Waterford-to-Mallow rail line, the pub – which opened in 1868 – catered for thirsty railway workers.

Now things have come full circle, says proprietor Helen O’Mahony. These days, she and her husband Tom are kept busy serving drinks and ice cream to people on the Waterford Greenway – a 46km off-road walking and biking trail built along the railway line, which officially opens on Saturday (March 25th, 2017) – 50 years to the day after the last passenger train travelled the route.

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Cycling Without Age

Update you on our progress with Cycling Without Age coming to Ireland.

The first rickshaw bike arrived in Dublin on Monday, 13th March 2017. We were delighted to take up the invitation from the Dublin Cycling Campaign to participate in the Dublin St Patrick’s Day Parade under the banner of 200 Years of Cycling. See the photo of us at the start of the parade.  We purchased this first bike from personal funds, so as to have a model to demonstrate to nursing homes and sponsors. We hope to have this bike crowd-funded.

Now that we have the bike here, we will be happy to talk to people, organisations, nursing homes, potential sponsors and others about how to promote the concept of Cycling Without Age here. We already have expressions of interest from some sponsors and organisations, and offers from volunteer pilots, whom we will train in the bike’s use.  Please let us know if you would like more information.

Clara Clark & Charles Mollan

Cycling Column: The economic benefits of cycling lanes – to Kildare

The following isn’t going to please the reactionary alternative facts crowd, because, you know, it’s facts.

One of the most common arguments against eliminating parking spaces in favour of cycling lanes is that it damages businesses.

The people behind those arguments are dead right. There will be an impact on business, except that it’s the opposite of the one they have in mind.

As the late great Christopher Hitchens observed once: “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

There is no available evidence that replacing parking spaces with cycling lanes reduces trade. But there is, thankfully, evidence that removing parking spaces actually increases trade by attracting pedestrians and cyclists. A new study of a neighbourhood in Toronto has proven this.

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Minister Brings Action Plan on Climate Pollution to Cabinet

Minister Naughten has announced he is bringing Ireland’s first plan to cut climate pollution in 10 years to Cabinet today. Publication of the draft National Mitigation Plan and the launch of a public consultation is expected within days.

The new action plan is a successor to the National Climate Change Strategies of April 2007 and October 2000, and the CO2 Abatement Strategy of June 1993. However, Irish greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change are higher now then they were at the time of the first plan in 1993. This is despite the National Policy Position on Climate Action which sets a national objective of cutting CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 and capturing all our agricultural emissions by planting more trees and restoring our peatland bogs.

Stop Climate Chaos, the civil society coalition campaigning for Ireland to do its fair share to tackle climate change, has today published “Five Tests to for Ireland’s draft National Mitigation Plan“.

5 Tests for Ireland’s climate action plans

  1.   Does the new plan add up to doing our fair share?
  2.   Does it start the phase out of fossil fuels?
  3.   Does it ramp up renewable energy and kick-start community ownership?
  4.   Does it put agriculture on a path to carbon neutrality?
  5.   Does it realign transport investment to reduce emissions?

The full 5 tests briefing document can be downloaded here.

Commenting, Cliona Sharkey, Trócaire Policy Officer and a spokesperson for the coalition said:

“Ultimately the plan needs to demonstrate Ireland is preparing to deliver not only on its EU targets, but also on the even more ambitious action agenda set out in the Paris Agreement. If we fail to meet our EU targets we will face significant fines.but if we fail to deliver on the Paris Agreement, we invite climate catastrophe with devastating consequences across society, the environment and the economy.”

The Paris Agreement commits Ireland and all the other parties to the treaty to hold: “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”.

Unfortunately, Ireland is a persistent laggard – not a leader. According to latest figures, Ireland’s current emissions are 6.6% above 1990 levels, and emissions increased by 3.7% in 2015. Ireland, with the 8th highest emissions per person in the OECD, is one of only two countries in the EU which will overshoot its 2020 targets for emissions reductions.

Ireland needs to immediately embark on a rapid and just transition to a carbon-free future. Both the EPA and the new Climate Change Advisory Council describe what is required as “a major societal and economic transformation”. Ireland’s last action plan on climate was launched in 2007 – by the then Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche – and expired in 2012. The Advisory Council is clear the new National Mitigation Plan should not just focus on our EU targets for 2020 and 2030 but “should outline the roadmap to achieve the 2050 national objective”. That objective, set out in the National Policy Position on Climate Action, is an 80% aggregate emissions reduction between the buildings, energy, and transport sectors, and carbon neutrality in agriculture.

Under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act, which became law on December 10th 2015, Minister for Climate Action, Denis Naughten TD, is obliged to submit a final action plan on how Ireland will cut climate pollution (called the National Mitigation Plan) to Government by 10th June 2017.

Take Five Minutes to Put Pressure on your Local TDs to Take Cycling Seriously!

We are calling on the government and TDs more generally to:

• allocate at least 10% of the Transport Budget to cycling
• implement the National Cycle Policy Framework in full
• take action to reduce transport emissions so that Ireland fulfils its obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement (of Dec 2015)

Without serious investment, the numbers of children cycling to school will remain way below what they should be and collisions involving cyclists will remain far too high. In a nutshell, we want cycling promotion and investment recognised as the amazing public health and urban decongestion interventions that they are!

We are calling on you to:

1 – Sign the petition: https://my.uplift.ie/petitions/allocate-10-of-the-national-transport-bud…

2 – Contact your local TD to asking him/her to take cycling seriously.
Feel free to use the text above and add in your own points. Visit https://www.whoismytd.com/ to see who are your local TDs – it’s super easy. When emailing, provide your home address so they know you are in their constituency and monitoring how much attention (or not!) they give to cycling.

Thank you – and do let us know what responses you get from your TDs

Also posted @Dublin Cycling

Let Your Cycling Voice Be Heard!

This week is an important week for the future of quality cycling in Dublin City! Dublin City Council are seeking submissions from you, and any member of the public, by next Thursday 9th March on their proposed design for the really important cycle route between Clontarf and Amiens St, close to Dublin City Centre. Dublin Cycling Campaign have major issues with the design as proposed, as we feel it does not adequately address the future needs for safe cycling in a city environment.

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