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Dublin Live
Dublin Live
Shauna Corr & Emma Nevin

A low-traffic College Green is among 35 ‘transformative’ new projects to improve Irish transport

Two young cyclists were all smiles following the launch of 35 ‘transformative’ new projects to improve transport and active travel in 19 counties across Ireland.

We reported in August just €16.8 million of €373.6m allocated to cycling, walking and wheeling infrastructure across councils this year had been spent. Following a rallying cry from Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, authorities including Dublin, Sligo, Cork and Waterford have stepped up to the mark with plans for a range of new ‘Pathfinder Schemes’ that include cleaner, healthier transport options for kids going to school in Dublin and beyond.

Minister Ryan says the reaction shows there “is a real appetite for change across the country”. Five transformational public transport projects, six ‘10 minute’ neighbourhoods, 19 walking and cycling projects and even a cycling link from Cork to Waterford were announced today in South Dublin.

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This includes a low traffic area at College Green/Dame Street as well as changes to North & South Quays, Beresford Place, Gardiner St, Pearse St/Tara St and Stephens Green in conjunction with BusConnects and CycleConnects to transform city centre travel.

A Cycle Network and BusConnects scheme from Swords to Dublin Airport to accommodate staff is planned, as well as a 10-minute town model for Dun Laoghaire/Blackrock including pedestrian only blocks. A D24/Tallaght 11km cycle network and the development of Castletymon as 10-minute neighbourhood is also planned.

Ireland’s transport sector must halve its emissions by 2030, or the country could face fines for not meeting its EU climate targets. Pathfinder Projects aim to reduce carbon emissions across transport by enabling a shift to cleaner and healthier modes of transport and will be delivered in the next three years.

Minister Ryan added: “In meeting our climate change targets, the government is establishing six acceleration task forces and leadership group within transport which are looking to accelerate what we need to do. They will be in offshore energy, sustainable mobility... heating our buildings, climate communications and just transition and in land use review.

“The leadership group within the Department of Transport has been working with the NTA, TII and regional assemblies, academic experts, bringing in different views to answer the question - what can we do within the next three years?

“That’s what I want to do with these Pathfinder Projects, to show that we can deliver quickly. Shortlisted projects, while all unique, have three key things in common,” he added.

“They are innovative. They are ambitious... and critically, they will be delivered at speed. The projects... could provide lessons and examples that we could replicate in other counties.”

Michael Mulhern, Director of Planning and Transport, South Dublin County Council spoke of the “ambition each Local Authority has to deliver these projects which will drastically enhance our local walking, cycling and public transport networks”.

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“We need the continued support from central Government, the NTA as well as local communities to successfully deliver these projects,” he added.

National Transport Authority chief, Anne Graham, said the Pathfinder Projects “will be transformative in our cities by reducing car dependency and widening access for active travel and public transport”.

“The projects can deliver once in a generation change to active travel through CycleConnects in all our cities focussing on the delivery of the core active travel networks in those cities and making new connections such as between Limerick’s three higher education institutions.

“The Pathfinder projects also support the delivery of the first zero emission public transport services in Athlone and Dingle and start us on an ambitious delivery path for zero emission bus services across Ireland.”

We asked Minister Ryan when we can expect the outcome of the North-South rail review, which will be the backbone of any active travel systems. He told us an update is expected by the end of the year, but that the political situation in Northern Ireland could impact what he described as ambitious plans to increase links, especially in the north and northwest.


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