More and more people in Ireland want alternative, sustainable and healthier transport options. Central Statistics Office figures show almost a third of daily journeys in Ireland are under 2km yet more than half of them are undertaken by car. And seventy nine percent of journeys up to 6km are completed by car. Anne Graham, chief executive of the National Transport Authority, said, “More people than ever want to cycle and walk as part of their daily journey, and it is incumbent on us to encourage them to precisely do that, so they can leave the car behind.”
According to the Department of Transport, €185m was spent in 2021 and €105m in 2020, but spending so far lags behind the headline Programme for Government promise to invest €360m in active travel every year.
The Department told Mr O’Rourke projects were held up by “Covid restrictions, planning issues and staffing constraints”.
Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said it was necessary to speed up the programme. He said, “I want us to now accelerate delivery of sustainable transport modes as we come out of the majority of Covid restriction.” “It is vital that we do not allow a return to gridlock as we come out of the pandemic.” he continued.
He went on to say, “We need to use the switch to remote working as an opportunity to reallocate road space to create a safer and more efficient transport system.”
What Will the Money be Spent on?
Works include new infrastructure for fully segregated routes and traffic management systems where routes must be shared with cars, along with 1,000km of new or upgraded routes that provide specifically for pedestrians and cyclists.
Around €134m will be spent in the Greater Dublin Area while €94.5m has been allocated to the regional cities and €50m to rural counties.
Some of the larger projects to be delivered this year will provide active travel options along the Clontarf to city centre route in Dublin, MacCurtain Street in Cork, O’Connell Street in Limerick, the Salmon Weir Bridge in Galway and a connection between the Waterford Greenway and the city centre.