The Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD today confirmed that the National Transport Authority (NTA) has allocated funds to Ireland’s local authorities with a view to spending €290m on walking and cycling infrastructure in 2023. This substantial investment will fund approximately 1,200 Active Travel projects, contributing to the development of almost 1,000km of new and improved walking and cycling infrastructure across the country by 2025. This includes the development of segregated cycle lanes and widened footpaths, new walking and cycling bridges, and new pedestrian crossings. In total, the 2023 fund allocation for Active Travel will allow for the progression of 387 projects in the Greater Dublin Area, 250 across other regional cities and a further 502 projects across rural Ireland. Some of the major projects receiving funding include the Dodder Greenway between Herbert Park and Donnybrook Road in Dublin, a new cycle and pedestrian bridge over the N40 in Cork, connecting to Tramore Valley Park, and the connection of the Waterford Greenway from Bilberry into the heard of Waterford City Centre. In addition to the planned developments in cities, communities up and down the country are also set to benefit from today’s announcement with projects such as the Donegal Town One-Way Active Travel Scheme and the Monaghan Town Greenway Upgrade set to start in 2023.
In addition, and as a key part of this announcement, Active Travel funding will ensure that the Safe Routes to School programme will continue to provide for safer cycling and walking facilities for many more schools across the country. Construction is expected on dozens of front of school treatments throughout 2023.
Minister for Transport Eamon RyanTD said: “Continuous and substantial funding for active travel across the country is a key commitment in the Programme for Government and a cornerstone of our transport strategies. Last year, all of the money allocated was drawn down by local authorities and I am confident that the same will happen this year. This will mean that communities across the country will be better connected with safe and people friendly corridors to visit friends, go to the shops, or cycle or walk to school, sports training or other activities.
People very often think that Greenways, cycle-ways or walkways are primarily tourism amenities. Of course, they serve that purpose really well, but first and foremost they are about local people and improving local life, connecting suburbs, local villages or townlands that have often become disconnected from one another because of busy and dangerous roads.
The benefits of this investment are immense, locally and nationally. Not only are we making our cities, towns and villages greener and more livable, we are also helping to reduce Ireland’s carbon emissions. In transport, we have a significant challenge to reduce our emissions by 50% by 2030. To achieve this, we have to encourage more people to choose sustainable ways of travelling. However, as we have seen already with the greenways, walk and cycle ways, once we build them, they become instantly popular and we don’t really have to do much to encourage people to make the sustainable switch.” Minister of State Jack Chambers T.D said: “I am happy to confirm that part of this funding will be allocated to the Safe Routes to School Programme. €15m was recently announced for Round 2 of the programme which will see over 37,000 students across Ireland benefit from safer infrastructure and encourage them to cycle, walk and wheel to school. In conjunction with Safe Routes to School, funding will also be committed to continuing the good work of the Cycle Right Training programme, which in 2022 saw over 30,000 students trained in cycle safety.”
Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority said: “2023 is going to be an important year for active travel. With a growing number of active travel schemes moving from design into construction and delivery, we can encourage more people across the country to walk or cycle within and beyond their local community. The funding being announced today will allow the NTA to continue to work alongside local authorities as we accelerate the delivery of improved cycling and walking infrastructure.
From new segregated cycle lanes and footpaths, to dedicated pedestrian and cycling bridges, the active travel projects receiving funding will make it easier and safer for people to choose active travel modes. The extensive work being undertaken in partnership with Active Travel teams within Councils nationwide will help improve the health and wellbeing of our communities and make them more accessible and attractive for everyone.”
Notes to the Editor
- Expenditure on and delivery of Active Travel, as funded by the department, has increased substantially, from circa €45 million in 2019 to an expected €290 million in 2023.
- The Safe Routes to School Programme is included within this year’s Active Travel allocation. This Programme commenced in 2021 and aims to create new and safer walking and cycling routes within communities, alleviating congestion at the school gates and increasing the number of students who walk or cycle to school. 170 Schools around the country were selected in the first phase with a further 108 schools announced as part of Round 2. The Safe Routes to School team in the NTA and An Taisce will begin engaging with Round 2 schools in early 2023 while work will continue on delivering projects at Round 1 schools.
- In addition, €63m will be made available to TII for the development of Greenways.