Laois can share in €50 million fund for walking and cycling projects

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

€50 million announced for rural cycling and walking initiatives in Laois and 21 other counties.

€50 million announced for rural cycling and walking initiatives in Laois and 21 other counties.

Laois groups can apply for a share in a newly announced €50 Million Walking and Cycling Fund for towns and villages.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton TD have this Friday December 4 announced a fund of €50m to be made available to local authorities in 22 counties for investment in walking and cycling projects.

The aim of the funding is to support the development of high-quality cycling and walking infrastructure outside of cities which are already catered for with Active Travel funding from the NTA.

Local authority applicants should identify convenient and direct routes for active travel modes, including, and where necessary, aim to reallocate space from motor traffic and car parking. Funded projects should be accessible, age-friendly and maximise comfort to people of all ages and abilities.

Laois Offaly Fianna Fail TD and Minister of State at the Department of Finance Sean Fleming welcome this funding.


“I now call on Laois County Council to engage with the process and identify convenient and direct routes for active travel modes in the area. We need to help facilitate people who want to cycle and walk as part of their daily routine and to connect our communities even more.  

“The National Transport Authority have said that they will be contacting local authorities in the coming days, so it is vitally important that Laois County Council get on board and engage with the National Transport Authority quickly to ensure Laois draws the maximum funding from this allocation,” he said. 

Laois Offaly based Minister of State Senator Pippa Hackett wants Laois and Offaly to apply for the money.

"Laois and Offaly are two of the local authorities eligible to apply for this funding. We can start by identify the convenient and direct routes for active travel modes in the county and then apply for the funding. Better cycle paths and wider footpaths will make it easier for people to walk and cycle in our towns and villages.”

“We have a growing number of cyclists looking for safe routes. We have older people and young parents who want to walk comfortably into their town. This funding will make it possible,” says Minister Hackett.

“The best ideas come from the people who would use these facilities. If any Laois resident has thoughts on how this funding should be used in their area, please contact me or any of our Green Party reps – John Holland in Portarlington/Graiguecullen (johnholland.greenparty@gmail. com); Sean McManus in Portlaoise (seanmcmanusgreenparty@gmail. com); or Niall Pickering in Borris-in-Ossory/Mountmellick (niall.pickering2000@gmail.com ).

Anne Graham CEO of the NTA said they will write to the relevant local authorities in the coming days and call on them to engage.

“We are particularly keen to ensure that those that do not already have detailed active travel network strategies are given the technical and financial support they need.”

The fund will be administered for the Department of Transport by the National Transport Authority.

Funding will be available to support projects in:

Leinster: Louth, Westmeath, Longford, Offaly, Laois, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford

Munster: Kerry, Tipperary, Clare and rural towns and villages in Cork, Limerick and Waterford

Connacht: Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, and rural towns and villages in Galway

Ulster: Donegal, Monaghan, Cavan

Among the kinds of project that will be considered are:

Development of active travel network strategies, Provision of new / widened footpaths or segregated cycle tracks; Reconstruction / renewal of defective footpaths or cycle tracks; Improved crossing facilities for pedestrians/cyclists including raised surfaces, zebra crossings, provision of lighting and signalised crossings; Provision of cycle parking.
Dishing of footpaths at junctions, raised pedestrian crossings, and reducing road width at crossing points; Closing roads to vehicles, except for access only; Permeability measures to support improved access within and between local communities;
Setting appropriate speed limits in accordance with the Guidelines for setting and managing speed limits in Ireland and/or introducing a “Slow Zone”; Pedestrian / cycle bridge rehabilitation works; Design work in respect of the provision of a future pedestrian / cycle bridge.