Cycling and pedestrian projects to get €360m, parties agree

Programme for government would set aside 20% of transport budget for green modes

There are also proposals to widen the eligibility of the Bike to Work scheme. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

There are also proposals to widen the eligibility of the Bike to Work scheme. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

A total of €360 million will be allocated to cycling and pedestrian projects each year during the lifetime of the next government under plans proposed by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.

The final programme for government document says the new government will commit to an allocation of 10 per cent of the total transport capital budget for cycling projects and an allocation of 10 per cent for pedestrian infrastructure.

“This commitment will deliver a five-year, multi-annual funding programme linked with a specific target of new separated cycling and walking infrastructure, which will be delivered or under construction by the end of 2024. This will enable a step change in the number of people taking daily journeys by foot,” the document says.

“Necessary improvements in climate impact, quality of life, air quality and physical and mental health demand that every effort is made by the government to make active travel and public transport better and more accessible.”

The parties also plan to “dramatically increase the number of children walking and cycling to primary and secondary school” by mandating the Department of Transport to work with schools across the country as well as local authorities.

There are also proposals to widen the eligibility of the Bike to Work scheme and to provide an increased allowance for e-bikes and cargo bikes.

Local authorities will also be asked to carry out an assessment of their road network “to see where space can be reallocated for pedestrians and cyclists. This should be done immediately.”

Fares review

On public transport, the parties have agreed to review fare structures to “ensure that public transport is as accessible as possible, supports the delivery of services and incentivises off-peak travel.”

The National Transport Authority will be asked to produce a park-and-ride implementation plan to reduce congestion and journey times. “These will integrate car-parking facilities with public transport and cycling networks and will include the provision of secure lockers for bicycles.”

In terms of rail services, the three parties have agreed to protect existing services and improve service capacity and frequency.

They will also commission an economic evaluation of higher-speed rail links between the country’s main cities.

The document also states that the parties recognise the need to “significantly decarbonise our transport fleet, with a particular focus on cars and light goods vehicles”.

To this end, they say they will legislate to ban the registration of new fossil-fuel cars and light vehicles from 2030 onwards and phase out diesel and petrol cars from Irish cities from that year.