People's Park Portlaoise, to get a new cycleway.
A Portlaoise park is to get a €120k riverside cycle to encourage children to cycle to school.
Laois County Council is planning to spend €120,000 on a cycle way through a Portlaoise park as the first part of a project to get children cycling safely through the town to school.
A new cycle way is to be built this year through the People’s Park on the Timahoe road in the town, opening onto the Summerhill school campus.
About 800 children go to three schools at the campus, Educate Together NS, Gaelscoil Phortlaoise, and Maryborough NS.
Another 1400 attend the Holy Family school campus on the same road, the Southern Circular Route, which already has a cycle lane. Watch: cycling classes at the Holy Family school.
The path will be widened all through the park, from its entrance on James Fintan Lalor Avenue (across from the Polski supermarket).
It is the first part of the ambitious Portlaoise ‘public realm’ plan to become a reality.
The council ‘s goal is to eventually have a cycle path all the way through the town, to O’Moore Place housing estate on the Mountmellick road, alongside the Triogue river.
Portlaoise Town Manager Kieran Kehoe gave the details at the Portlaoise Municipal District meeting for January.
“The plan is to extend this through parish lands to O’Moore Place, so that a child can hop on a bike and go all the way to school , with just two roads to cross,” he said.
The council has already gained agreements from landowners to connect from Summerhill school campus to James Fintan Lalor avenue.
“We are finalising the design now, our technicians and engineers have gone to courses on designing cycle ways. It is important to provide off road cycleways. This advances our vision and shows that the public realm strategy wasn’t just a document to put dreamed about and put on a shelf,” Mr Kehoe said.
Most of the money, €95,900 is a government grant under Measure 2 of the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme in County Laois, announced earlier this January.
The other €20,000 will be matched from Laois County Council funds.
Portlaoise councillors all praised the plan.
“The river Triogue is our only amenity, now for the first time people are going to get the benefit. I look forward to seeing this extended to O’Moore Place and Craydon Court,” said cllr Catherine Fitzgerald.
“For 15 or 20 years we forgot about cycling, now there is huge awareness, and parents are trying to teach their children to cycle but they tell me that traffic doesn’t allow for safe cycling. People will be able to cycle with their children in the park. We have people from Portlaoise going to Dungarvan to cycle because it’s safe. Our stretch is small but at least we’re starting,” said Cllr Willie Aird.
The Cathaoirleach Cllr Mary Sweeney complimented the local authority “for pursuing the money” for the project.