A new national €50m fund for investment in walking and cycling paths has been warmly welcomed by local representatives with Laois County Council urged to make the most of the support that is available.
Deputy Fleming, Minister of State at the Department of Finance, commented, “I welcome this funding to support the development of high-quality cycling and walking paths in Laois.
“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.”
“Laois is one of the local authorities eligible to apply for this funding,” added Green Party minister Pippa Hackett.
“We can start by identifying 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.”
Funded projects should be accessible, age-friendly and maximise comfort to people of all ages and abilities. If necessary, the council can reallocate space from motor traffic and car parking.
The aim of this funding is to support the development of high-quality cycling and walking infrastructure outside of our cities.
“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,” added Minister Hackett.
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.