Cyclist.ie and its member groups were well represented at the “Accelerating Active Travel for 2030” Transport Forum held on Wed 22 March 2023 in the elegant Regent House in Trinity College Dublin. Our attendees included Mairéad Forsythe, Dr. Mike McKillen, Colm Ryder, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, Conor Cahill, Una Morrison, Eric Conroy and David Timoney.
The overarching message from the event was that we are now, finally, beginning to make good progress in the development of our active travel infrastructure in Dublin City and other built-up areas, but we also need to ‘up our game’ over the coming years if we are to humanise our cities and decarbonise our transport systems.
Joe Seymour from the National Transport Authority (NTA) argued that the 2022 Active Travel budget of €290M is being spent on increasingly better quality schemes. We are seeing the results with, for example, BusConnects schemes, which include significant cycling provision, the Fairview Public Realm / Bus Priority / Active Travel scheme, the Dodder Greenway Route, the 11km long D24 cycle route in Dublin, the Salmon Weir Bridge in Galway and the Bilberry to Rice Bridge link in Waterford. Challenges do remain however in dealing effectively with the many protests against change, and with the re-allocation of public road space.
Claire French, Senior Executive Engineer in Dublin City Council, provided an historical perspective on the subject. She emphasised how, initially, some of the public were apprehensive about schemes such as the pedestrianisation of Grafton Street (1970s – 80s), the banning of left-turn motor vehicles at the northern end of Dawson Street (early 2000s), the creation of the College Green Bus Gate (around 2010) and, most recently, the removal of motor vehicles from most of Capel Street. In all cases, these traffic management interventions / public realm schemes have improved public life and business activity in the city.
Further positive examples, which Dublin Cycling Campaign has strongly advocated for over the years, include the creation of the (still temporary and unfinished) Liffey Cycle Route measures, the contra-flow cycle facilities on Nassau Street, Parnell Square (East) and on Werburgh Street, and the filtered permeability schemes in Grangegorman and on Pigeon House Road. Claire acknowledged the need for the City Council to continue to improve in its processes of public consultation.
Dr. Robert Egan, Research Fellow at Trinity College Dublin, drew on the work of the late Prof. John Urry in his presentation – and, in particular, on his thinking around the creation of the ‘system of automobility’ and the discourses which have naturalised car-centric planning over the decades. As we seek to rapidly decarbonise our transport systems and revitalise and rehumanise our built up areas, we now need to marginalise automobility and centralise ‘velo-mobility’. Shaping the discourses through the media and in other ways is central to this mission. Robert’s comment that we are “currently cycling within a driving system” but need to change to “driving within a cycling (and public transport) system” struck a chord with the audience.
Martina Mullin, Operational Lead in Healthy Trinity, gave a terrific overview of the work that Trinity College has focused on so as to make bicycle journeys safe on and off-campus. Much of the latter efforts have focused on engagements with Dublin City Council and the NTA, so that there are safe routes for Trinity students and staff coming in from the suburbs and into the city centre. Much credit is due to Martina and her group on this work. TCD is concentrating on the routes to and from the main campus to its developing estate towards Ringsend, the Health Sciences at St. James’ Hospital and residences at Trinity Hall (Dartry). Both Dublin City Council and the NTA are aware of this requirement for safe segregated routes.
Finally, Willem Frederik Metzelaar from the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Urban Mobility, provided the European context, reminding us that 23% of the EU’s transport emissions come from the transport sector. Clearly, we need a new mobility paradigm in which active travel is front and centre. EIT are funding EU start-up businesses and promoting active travel through a variety of programs.
A lively Q&A session followed. One of the main points stressed by audience members was that there needs to much greater engagement from An Garda Síochána on the matter of traffic law enforcement – in particular in relation to illegal car parking on the cycle tracks which have been created specifically to make cycling safe and easier for those new to cycling (and those considering cycling) in the city.
Cyclist.ie and Dublin Cycling Campaign send its congratulations to Trinity College Dublin on running the event and we look forward to further engagements on the topics in the near future.
Míle bhuíochas do Siobhán Swift ón bhFeachas Rothaíochta Shligigh don alt seo a scríbh sí i rith Seachtain na Gaeilge! A version in English of Joan’s article can be read further below. A big thanks for the piece Joan. Maithiú!
Bhain Feachtas Rothaíochta Shligigh an-taitneamh as ár dturas dátheangach go Coill an Eanaigh (Hazelwood) le déanaí. Imeachta do Sheachtain na Gaeilge le Energia ab ea an turas agus táimíd fíorbhuíoch do Chonradh na Gaeilge as an maoiniú. Táimíd buíoch freisin do Beatrice Mac Donald, Cumann Oidhreachta Hazelwood, as eolas faoi stair Dimeine Hazelwood a chur ar fáil agus do Leabharlann Naisiúnta na hÉireann as cead a thabhairt dúinn grianghrafanna ón Lawrence Collection a úsáid i mbileog eolais.
Ghlach idir óg is aosta páirt sa turas. Bhí an rannpháirtí is óige ceithre mhí d’aois agus an duine is sine……bhuel, is binn béal ina thost! Bhí deis againn srachfhéachaint a chaitheamh ar Theach Hazelwood, teach a dhear an t-ailtire mór le rá Richard Cassells do Owen Wynne i 1731. Drioglann atá san áit seo anois agus tá an teach á athchoiriú. Thógamar sos ag suíomh fothrach an mhuilinn gaoithe a bhíodh ag soláthar uisce do Teach Hazelwood fadó agus bhí radharc álainn ar abhann na Garbhóige agus ar Ben Bulben.
Ar aghaidh linn ansin go dtí an chéad stop eile ag Half Moon Bay, áit a bhfuil Loch Gile álainn leagtha amach romhat. Tá stop phointe don Yeats Trail anseo. Níl furmhór Bealach Yeats indéanta fós ar rothar toisc nach bhfuil na bóithre sábháilte go leor – ach lá éigin b;fhéidir……….. Bhí picnic beag ag na rannpháirtithe óga agus áthas ar na lachain go roinneadar leo é!
Stop amháin eile a bhí fágtha anois ag Bá Eanaigh, áit a mbíonn éin uisce ag soláthar bia. In aice na háite seo bí plandlann crann tráth agus cuireadh na síológa i bhforaoiseacha ar fud an IarTuairscirt.
Bhí sé in am ansin dul siar an bealach a thángamar ach an uair seo chasamar ar dheis ag Droichead Sheáin Uí Fhallúin, agus thugamar aghaidh ar Chaife Ripples in Óstán an Riverside áit a raibh caifé agus sconnaí reidh dúinn. Bhí ionadaithe ó Aonad Loch Gile a Comhairle Chontae Shligigh agus an Teachta Dála Frank Feighan ansin chun fáilte a chur romhainn.
An cheist is minicí a chuireadh orainn ag deireadh an imeachta……..Cathain a bheidh turas eile á eagrú agaibh. “Watch this space” mar a deirtear i mBearla!
On Saturday the 4th of March, for Seachtain na Gaeilge, Sligo Cycling Campaign organised a very successful cycle outing to Hazelwood. The wood is named for Hazelwood House, a Palladian Mansion designed for Owen Wynne by Richard Cassells in 1731. The Irish name is not a translation of Hazelwood, but is rather Coill an Eanaigh, from the word Eanach – a marsh, remembered in the name Annagh Bay on Lough Gill.
Coillte are doing extensive restoration work to rid the wood of invasive species and restore its natural habitat. One restored section is not accessible by bicycle as it is an area of alluvial woodland, which again is a reminder of the original “eanach” or marsh. This area is open for walking.
Hazelwood is a popular recreation area with paths along woodland lake and river and stunning views of the surrounding hills. Point 7 of the newly developed Yeats Trail is located at Half Moon Bay, prompted no doubt by the opening lines of the poem, The Song of Wandering Aengus “I went out to the hazel wood……….” Coillte have recently opened a new section of wood which, once you have reached the wood, allows for an enjoyable circular cycle away from traffic.
One of the newest member groups of Cyclist.ie is Portarlington Cycling Campaign based in the midlands town on the Laois – Offaly border. We were delighted to do a little interview with the group’s coordinator, John Holland, to find out about what the group’s priorities are. The article below includes some photos taken at events organised by the group in 2022 – monthly Critical Mass cycle events and a ‘Tour De Port’ cycle as part of the French festival in the ‘Solas’ Eco Garden Centre in July last year.
Can you tell us a bit about Portarlington Cycling Campaign – why / how / when did it come into being? The Portarlington Cycling Campaign was born out of the Portarlington Business Association (PBA) Sustainability group which has been advocating for improved active travel and sustainable transport in Portarlington since the group was formed in 2020. The PBA Sustainability Group has made several submissions to Laois and Offaly County Councils (a portion of Portarlington being in Offaly) regarding improved walking and cycling infrastructure as well as traffic calming measures which we would like to see in the town. We have also made strong connections with both councils (with quarterly meetings between all parties) to get updates on sustainable transport plans and to provide feedback and guidance on how these plans can be improved for the safety of vulnerable road users and with the aim of maximizing active travel within the town. The group has also run events such as the Portarlington Critical Mass cycling event, which commenced on a monthly basis in 2022. This has been a great success at getting cyclists of all ages to come out for a safe, gentle cycle around the town centre, and in advocating for safe cycling for all ages and abilities.
We decided as a group in 2022 to formalize the work we’ve been doing on active travel by setting up with Portarlington Cycling Campaign. This has enabled us to more directly promote cycling as a means of replacing motor vehicle use and to avail of the expertise of Cyclist.ie and other campaign groups around the country.
What are the big issues, as you see them, in Portarlington (and in neighbouring towns perhaps) by way of creating a cycle friendly culture / making everyday cycling safe and normal? Portarlington is very much like other similar sized towns throughout Ireland – it is choked with cars! However, a key advantage within Portarlington is that it is relatively flat, there is the beginnings of a cycle network (with plans by Laois County Council to implement a much more extensive network), most roads are wide enough to support safe cycling, and a link road around the town centre provides an opportunity for a traffic calmed or (ideally) a pedestrianised Main Street. We see every day the impact that car culture has on the way people interact (or not) with the town. Most children are dropped to and from school despite the primary schools being centrally placed and within walking/cycling distance of the majority of residents of the town. There is widespread illegal parking on footpaths and cycle lanes.
Additionally, there is also a large volume of HGVs travelling through the town making it unsafe for most people to consider cycling as a means of getting around. We want our children to be able to enjoy their town without being confined to a tiny cordon of safe, car-free areas such as the playground or the GAA pitch. We want to live in a safe and vibrant town, with strong social cohesion, a people-friendly central core and a safe, segregated cycle network which provides real alternatives to the motor vehicle.
Is there any particular type of support that your group would appreciate from Cyclist.ie and from our advocates countrywide? The group are regularly liaising with Laois and Offaly county councils on plans for a cycle network in the town. These plans are currently with the NTA (National Transport Authority) for approval. We would appreciate the support of Cyclist.ie in advising on these plans – e.g. areas where they could be improved and how best to engage with the local community on public consultations.
Have you or other members of your group cycled in or visited other countries which have given you inspiration for Portarlington? Members of our group have witnessed first-hand what impact properly planned, safe, segregated cycling can have on the number and diversity of cyclists that will use such infrastructure. We have seen this in places such as The Netherlands, France and Belgium, and this has fed our determination to advocate for similar high quality infrastructure here. If it can be done there, it can be done here!
We totally agree John! Anything else you want to add? We see walking and cycling advocacy as a means of moving the dial significantly towards a sustainable town. More people getting around on their own steam means fewer cars on the roads, and that in turn means a safer environment for everyone, stronger social networks as people reconnect on safer streets, healthier outcomes and more independence for our children, and a healthy and vibrant core of businesses in our town centre. We have seen evidence of this throughout Europe so we know the benefits of more active travel…we just need to embrace the change that is necessary for our and for our children’s sake.
Cyclist.ie wishes Portarlington Cycling Campaign the very best with its campaigning and we look forward to meeting up with the local campaigners in person in 2023!
Cyclist.ie is delighted to hear of the ambitious news on cycling (as below) from Brussels. Cyclist.ie is the member for Ireland of the European Cyclists’ Federation and an active player on the European stage through the ECF.
Today, at the Cycling Industries Europe Summit, European Commission Executive-Vice President Frans Timmermans, announced that the EU institutions will complete an ambitious cycling plan this year, including commitments to increase funding for infrastructure and industrial growth. This follows a resolution passed by the European Parliament in February which called on the Commission and Member States to take actions to double cycling in the EU.
In front of a packed house of industry leaders in Brussels, Timmermans was joined by MEP Karima Delli and Belgian Transport Minister Georges Gilkinet representing the Parliament and Member States. Both confirmed that the proposed Cycling Declaration will be inter-institutional, representing the EU’s highest level of political commitment for cycling.
Saying that Europe must have a role in supporting cycling, Timmermans announced the declaration saying: “I am announcing an initiative to boost the bike in Europe. The Commission will propose a European Cycling Declaration and invite the Parliament and Council to join and make this an interinstitutional agreement. We will include principles for supporting cycling, along with access to tools and funds. This will ensure our citizens will not only have the right to cycle on paper, but access to support. European instruments must be used to double cycling in Europe!”
Timmermans also welcomed the adoption of the recent European Parliament resolution on developing a European Cycling Strategy, calling it a “huge democratic mandate for cycling”, making his job in the European Commission easier. With momentum for more European support for cycling building, he said that now is the right time for a Declaration, saying that this “is the way”.
Tony Grimaldi, President of CIE responded positively to the announcements, thanking Timmermans, Delli and Gilkinet for their leadership on the Declaration, especially Karima Delli for the strong collaboration with the European cycling associations that created ambitious targets for the cycling plan, doubling the level of cycling in Europe and creating one million new, green cycling jobs.
Speaking to the attendees, Grimaldi said: “Today we are proud that the three EU institutions are coming together at the CIE Summit to announce their latest plans for an EU Cycling Declaration. The CIE Summit has become an essential milestone for all our cycling stakeholders to come together and share what we can do for Europe.”
He continued: “However, today is not the day to say “job done”, today is when we take the next steps. The Commission must now produce a final EU Cycling Declaration that takes concrete actions to deliver these goals, and we in the cycling industry will show again that we are the greenest, smartest, most reliable partners in the European Mobility Ecosystem.”
Jill Warren, CEO of the European Cyclists’ Federation said: “ECF welcomes today’s announcement that the Commission will act on the Parliament’s resolution and elevate cycling to a strategic priority. As part of this, more funding for high quality, safe cycling infrastructure will be key to doubling cycling levels in Europe.”
In the detailed announcement for the EU Cycling Declaration, Frans Timmermans said that the Commission will produce a vision for cycling by the summer, supported by detailed proposals on the actions to be taken to deliver the plans. This must include funding for infrastructure, a review of regulations and support for cycling industries in the EU’s industrial strategies. It is expected that the Parliament and European Council of Member States will complete their review of the plan by the end of 2023.
Drogheda Cycling, a member group of Cyclist.ie, had developed innovative proposals to improve the liveability and cycle friendliness of the Dublin Road area in Drogheda.
Following on from the launch of their proposals which called for the redesign of Drogheda’s dual carriageway to favour active travel options and public transport space, the group has launched an online petition calling for the speedy implementation of these proposals.
In explaining the proposals, Chairperson Noel Hogan said that “all across Europe towns like Drogheda are embracing active travel – and seeing the benefits in terms of a healthier population and – most importantly – quicker travel times. Children in other countries are being given back the freedom to cycle which, because of traffic congestion, has been denied to the children of Drogheda.”
He stressed that his group are committed to playing their part to make Drogheda a safer, healthier town for everyone, and to that end they are are calling for people to support our online petition which can be found at:
Clara Clark from Cycling Without Age has sent us this report on the recent launch of the Línte na Farraige installation in Blackrock, County Dublin. This launch follows an equivalent launch at the Spanish Arch in Galway in December 2022.
Línte na Farraige is a series of LED light installations across Irish coastal sites that represent the impact of future sea level rise and storm surges. This installation at the Martello Tower in Blackrock Park Co. Dublin was launched on 21st February 2023.
This postcard image is the calculated sea level in the year 2100, at normal (not surge) height. Surges and easterly winds will drive wave heights to multiples of this height.
Speakers at the launch included DLR Cathaoirleach Mary Hanafin, Minister Catherine Martin, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and Deputy Leader of the Green Party, DLR Council CEO Frank Curran, and Finnish Ambassador to Ireland Ms Raili Lahnalampi. Ms. Lahnalampi is a keen and regular cyclist, who arrived on her bike!
This installation was designed by a Finnish design group. Attendees included a team from CARO, the The Dublin Metropolitan Climate Action Regional Office (CARO) which supports and coordinates climate action undertaken by the four Local Authorities of South Dublin, Fingal, Dun Laoghaire‐Rathdown, Dublin City Council (DCC). DCC is the lead authority in the region. Dublin CARO is based in the Civic Offices.
This CARO project is headed by David Dodd. The scientists are from Maynooth University and emeritus Professor of Geography John Sweeney attended. Their work is guided by the work of the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (see https://www.ipcc.ch/).
These art / science installations are designed to create awareness of the impending sea level rise from now on. By 2050 the level will be up by 0.4m on today’s level. Solar-powered, the LED light lights up at dusk. The cycle path and walkway through Blackrock Park is busy all day and evening, as commuters pass by the tower. This should imprint on people the impact of climate change and our need to do something about it.
More details are on this signboard beside the tower:
If you want to imagine just how significant the sea level rise will be for this small child in his lifetime, this picture tells its own story (the DART line is in the background).
Extraordinary General Meeting, Wed 19 April 2023** at 8.00pm
Online consultation on how the unified organisation will function, Sat 11 March 2023, 2.00 pm-5.00 pm
After many months / years of discussions, consultations, drafting, expert advice etc., we are finally ready for an EGM to decide on the future of the organisation. Our draft Constitution is ready to be voted on by members* at our online EGM on Wed 19 April** at 8.00 pm. Also on the agenda for the EGM is the decision on a new name. Formal notification will be issued to all members shortly, but in the meantime please save the date.
In advance of the EGM, there will be an online meeting on Sat 11 March from 2pm to 5pm. The purpose of this meeting is to explore how the unified organisation will function day-to-day. An Operations Manual has being drafted which contains proposed details of how the new organisation will function. It’s important that as many members as possible take the opportunity to contribute so that the Operations Manual is as comprehensive as possible and that it meets the needs of the organisation going forward.
The Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy 2022-2042 was published late last month (January 2023) by the National Transport Authority. The Strategy aims to expand and integrate public transport modes, as well as cycling and walking, in all four Dublin local authority areas and in the surrounding built-up areas of Kildare, Meath and Wicklow.
From the point of view of Cyclist.ie this is a critical document. Cycling’s role in transport depends on integration with other modes, and protection for us on our roads and streets. Safe cycling depends on policies like those contained in this Strategy, and in legislation like the Planning Acts, Roads Acts and traffic law.
Very broadly, the Strategy supports the expansion of DART, Luas and BusConnects, together with continued reductions in reliance on private car traffic (from 57.7% to 48.6%). The authors claim it will lead to a reduction in carbon emissions from transport in the GDA from 3.2 Megatonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2018 down to about one tonne by 2042. Cycling’s share of trips is planned to increase from 3.2% to 11.5%.
Those ambitions are critical in reclaiming our road space for cycling, walking and wheeling, turning back the tide of car dependency and danger that has benighted Dublin’s roads for decades. A joined-up, frequent, easy-to-use public transport system is really important for people using bikes because it allows for safer roads, as well as ‘inter-modal’ travel like taking your bike on DART, or getting Luas and then hopping on a Bleeper bike for the last km of your journey.
Covering the period up to 2042, the Strategy has a reported budget of €25bn. It seeks to build out the MetroLink rail line including a north-south tunnel for heavy rail across the city. However it shelves the DART Underground tunnel plan. While we would claim no expertise in rail planning, we note with concern the call by Dublin Commuter Coalition to review projections for usage of DART Underground and its delivery timescales. Cyclist.ie did make a response to the recent Consultation Paper on the On Island Strategic Rail Review, particularly with regard to inter-modal travel, and is calling for a meeting with the NTA to further discuss cycling and train use.
Back to issues more closely related to cycling, the GDA Strategy supports the National Transport Authority’s Cycle Network Plan for Dublin, which has been on paper in various forms for over three decades now and is being built out much more rapidly since the Covid pandemic. Cyclist.ie generally supports the Network Plan. Both interim and permanent schemes in the Plan are being built, and much of the permanent network is integrated with BusConnects Core Bus Corridors (we’re studying those designs and making submissions covering each Corridor). Of interim schemes, the patchy Liffey Cycle Route and the highly-acclaimed Coastal Mobility Route in Dun Laoghaire are telling examples of their variable quality.
The Strategy was initially released for public consultation in November 2021, and we made a submission on that in Jan 2022 (which we posted here). We felt the target to increase cycling’s share of trips to 12% was unambitious: Cycling can do much more of the heavy lifting for transport in Dublin than 12%. On a larger scale, we called then for the Strategy to address this country’s dire record on planning delays, but the final version fails to really tackle this issue. Another national issue we highlighted is upgrading the Common Appraisal Framework. This Framework is used to assess the benefits versus costs of transport projects prior to funding by Government, and needs to be revised to take proper account of the benefits of promoting active travel; it’s too heavily weighted towards saving motorists’ time currently. The final GDA Strategy misses an opportunity to make a strong case for improvements here. We were also a bit disappointed to see little change since the Draft Strategy around the gathering and sharing of travel data, and RSA road safety data. We were saddened that there’s no aim in the Strategy to work towards a default 30 km/h speed limit for all urban areas in the GDA, or meaningfully addressing the needs of children who are disproportionately affected by our current, highly car-dependent, environment.
However, overall, it can’t be denied that the Strategy offers a vast improvement in joined-up, long-term thinking and does seek to assist Dublin’s development into a more liveable, sustainable region.
That’s a very brief, broad outline. Do have a look for yourself and let us know your thoughts; the Strategy: is viewable here.
The Limerick Greenway (Great Southern Trail) is a unique 85km stretch of countryside in West Limerick / North Kerry. It is the route taken by the Limerick – Tralee railway line, which opened in 1867/1880 and closed in 1975/1977.
The Great Southern Trail (GST) group is an active member group of Cyclist.ie – and it has been campaigning on the ground for many years for the creation of a high quality greenway along this corridor.
Cyclist.ie was delighted to receive the “Great Southern Trail 10 Year Video Report, 2013 to 2023” earlier today (14 February 2023).
The report includes footage of the GST “Barricaded Walk” from February 2013, of the (then) Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar opening the Abbeyfeale to the Kerry Border section (also in February 2013), the opening of the Barnagh Tunnel in 2021, and the opening of the Limerick Border to Listowel section in October 2022.
The video also outlines the route of the remaining trail – the railway route from Listowel to Tralee (to link with the newly opened Tralee to Fenit Greenway). The video and photos were produced by Mike Guerin in Feb 2023. Overall, the film gives a sense of battles fought and advocacy work advanced by the GST team as they engaged with many Ministers, Councillors and other stakeholders over the last 10 years…. not to mention the 25 years of campaigning before 2013!
The video can be watched here:
Cyclist.ie congratulates Liam O’Mahony, Mike Guerin and all of the campaigners from the GST route for their ongoing work in campaigning for the completion of the greenway.
Cyclist.ie welcomes the continuing high level investment in Active Travel projects and personnel from the present government. These investments are critical in helping Ireland to match its Climate Action Plan ambitions. The most recent announcement on 1st February 2023 allocated funding of €290 million nationwide for 2023 and sees a wide array of projects being funded. These range from small footpath schemes to full blown urban greenways and bus corridors. The allocation of this National Transport Authority (NTA) funding recognises the breadth of work that needs to be done to begin to increase cycling and walking, and reduce the use of the private car in our society.
Funding allocations range from a high of nearly €60 million for Dublin City down to several million Euro for some of the less populous local authorities. The four Dublin local authorities together account for nearly 43% of the allocated funding.
In this article, we provide feedback from some of our own member groups in the Cyclist.ie network on allocations for particular counties / local authority areas. Our contributors have highlighted where spend seems appropriate and is to be lauded, but they also have concerns on the spend on some more questionable schemes (particularly road resurfacing projects).
Limerick Limerick Cycling Campaign warmly welcomes the allocation of €21m in funding for Limerick as part of the NTA funding allocation of €290m for walking and cycling projects in 2023.
It will see delivery of large primary routes such as the TUS (Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest) to City Centre and Hyde Road schemes in this calendar year as well as a number of key secondary routes in all three metropolitan wards. Progress on Active Travel measures on the Dublin Road are particularly welcome. It’s currently a very hostile road for those who walk or cycle and is a significant barrier to modal shift for those residents and UL students living in the area.
There has been a significant increase in rural funding including a fund of nearly €5m for active travel improvements in rural towns and villages as well as an expansion of the Safe Routes to School Schemes for many primary and secondary schools in the city.
One slight concern is the low funding amount attached to the Pathfinder project from Park Canal to Clare St. We would hope that we would see a significant increase to this essential project in 2024 as plans progress.
While it’s encouraging to see the Ballycummin area of Limerick City West included, we would hope to see progress to deliver the full orbital route around the Ballycummin / Church Hill Meadows area and the inclusion of the main Church Hill Meadows Road and the remaining small stretch of Dooradoyle Rd as soon as possible. With excellent projects on Fr. Russell Road and the Quinns Cross route being delivered in 2023, these will be the natural next steps to connect the largest estates in Limerick City West to the rest of the network.
Overall the funding shows the work that Limerick’s Active Travel Team, supported by the larger council and our elected reps, is advancing is gathering significant steam. We would call on all Limerick stakeholders to see the huge opportunities that this funding presents for Limerick as we move to a transport system that supports our climate responsibilities, our health and well-being and a more sustainable way of moving around our city.
Meath Meath’s allocation of €14,135,000 is very welcome and, outside of the four Dublin local authorities, Cork and Limerick, is the highest allocation to a county from this year’s funding. The allocation is spread across 38 different projects, and in total almost half of the total funding (€7m) is for schemes in Navan.
The majority of the funding for cycling infrastructure in Navan is for ongoing schemes which are already in various states of planning, such as the Trim Road Cycle Scheme, the R147 Kells Road Scheme and the R147 Martha’s Bridge to Circular Road Scheme. One notable addition is the inclusion of the Pathfinder Project, on the R161 Navan to Trim road.
Of the €7m funding for Navan, €3m is for the ongoing Navan 2030 works at Kennedy Plaza, which unfortunately do not contain any plans for cycling. €1m is allocated for the new LDR4 bridge from the Kells Road to Ratholdren Road. While this new bridge and road will incorporate active travel infrastructure, it is well documented that new roads only serve to further embed car dependency, a phenomenon known as induced-demand. It is unclear how this project can be awarded funding under active travel.
We feel that active travel funding should have been secured for this area of the town to facilitate the installation of cycle lanes along the Ratholdren Road. We have been advocating for safe cycling infrastructure along this road since last May. There are two schools at either end of the road, a leisure centre, the town’s only park and the trailhead for the soon to be opened Boyne Valley to Lakelands County Greenway. We are very disappointed about the lack of progress as Navan’s residents are denied safe cycling access to the host of amenities mentioned above. The new greenway is highly anticipated and we are very concerned for the safety of children and other vulnerable road users, either trying to access Navan town centre if coming from Kilberry/Wilkinstown/Nobber or Navan residents trying to access the greenway from the town. This existing problem will only get worse as demand for greenways around the country has proven to be exceptionally high. We cannot wait years for the completion of the LDR4.
Sligo Spokesperson for Sligo Cycling Campaign Joan Swift said the Campaign very much welcomed the €3m Active Travel allocation for Sligo and is particularly pleased with the Safe Routes to School funding for Scoil Ursula, St John’s, Strandhill and Enniscrone. Giving children and parents the freedom to get to school on their own fuel is key to unlocking the health and well- being benefits of active travel.
Sligo Cycling Campaign is also pleased that funding has been secured to commence the Pathfinder schemes, Carraroe to town centre and town centre to the ATU (Atlantic Technological University). The Campaign will be looking for clarification on some schemes which merely say “Active Travel” as it’s unclear what this means in practice. We very much welcome the proposed footpath scheme from the station in Collooney, but we are concerned for example that in a social media post Councillor Thomas Walsh included road resurfacing as well as footpath enhancement and junction tightening in his description of the Collooney schemes. Road resurfacing, while necessary in our view, should come from the roads maintenance budget and not the Active Travel allocation. The footpath from Collooney to Ballisodare also appears to be already well advanced, so again we will be asking for clarification in regard to the purpose of the €550,000 allocation for this scheme. A further concern we have is why a parklet costing €70,000 is included under Active Travel.
Clare We note the allocation of €4.5m for County Clare and more than 50% of this is allocated to Ennis town and surrounds. €400,000 is allocated to Active Travel Team staff costs. €1.2m is allocated to footpaths in towns and villages.
Almost €6m was allocated to Active Travel in Clare in 2021. Many of the proposed schemes in 2023 seem to be very similar to those that were proposed in 2021. There is not enough evidence that the schemes proposed in 2021 have actually been completed. We would like some clarification on what was spent from the 2021 allocation and on what exactly, and how these schemes differ from what is being proposed in 2023.
There has been virtually no funding allocated to cycling infrastructure in this round. Some such infrastructure was implemented in Ennis from the 2021 funding.
No funding at all seems to be allocated to active travel in rural areas, or visitor attractions and sites. There is very little in North and West Clare, except for small amounts in Lisdoonvarna and Miltown Malbay / Spanish Point for footpaths and pedestrian crossings.
For example, there is a section of cycling / walking path between Lahinch and Liscannor which was started a number of years ago, and it remains unfinished and dangerous to walk or cycle on. This is not included in the current allocations, but needs to be remediated at the very least.
Many of the Active Travel Schemes have very limited funding allocation, apart from one on the Tulla Road in Ennis which has been allocated almost €1.8m (40% of the total budget). There is also no detail on what any of the Active Travel schemes will actually include, so we would like clarification on this and exactly what these schemes include and hope to achieve.
South Dublin County The South Dublin Sub-group (of Dublin Cycling Campaign) welcomes the allocations in the Active Travel Investment Programme 2023 which advance the Cycle South Dublin Programme. We are especially pleased to see all the unfinished sections of the Dodder Greenway included in the Programme as well as major investment in the Wellington Lane Cycling and Walking Scheme, the Castletymon District Enhancement Programme, D24 Neighbourhood Cycle Network, Killinarden Park and Greenway Scheme, Active Travel for Clonburris and the Grand Canal to Lucan Urban Greenway. We are pleased also that some funding has been allocated under the 2023 Greenway Programme for the Grand Canal 12th Lock (Lucan) to Hazelhatch scheme but disappointed that the allocation is not adequate for completion of the scheme in 2023.
Conclusion Cyclist.ie welcomes the investments in Active Travel projects countrywide. However, we stress here the need for spending to go on those schemes which form important elements of local cycle networks and which connect to important destinations such as schools, colleges, town centres and greenways. We do not support AT funding being spent on motor traffic / road capacity expanding schemes with minor ‘tag-ons’ of cycling infrastructure or on road resurfacing projects. We will be following up with the NTA and with the local authorities in due course in regard to these.
For more information on the Active Travel Grants Programme delivered by the Active Travel Investment Section of the NTA, see here.
Cyclist.ie – the national Cycling Promotion organisation