Dublin, Ireland – In a significant move towards sustainable transportation, the Irish government has announced a visionary project to fast-track the creation of 1,000 kilometres of cycle routes by 2030. The National Cycling Network Plan [source], revealed today, sets a bold target for a comprehensive network spanning approximately 3,500 kilometres.
The national cycle network will open in phases throughout the country in the coming years, it will provide a safe and enjoyable way for people to travel, and it will support a more sustainable future for the country.Peter Walsh, chief executive of Transport Infrastructure Ireland
The Vision of the National Cycling Network
The plan, developed under the umbrella of Ireland’s commitment to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, aims to connect over 200 cities, towns, and villages. This initiative, according to the National Cycling Network (NCN), will bring more than 2.8 million people within the ambit of this network. Remarkably, 80% of households and nearly 90% of jobs will be accessible within 5 kilometres of these cycling routes.
A Commitment to Green Mobility
Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, speaking at the inauguration of the Grand Canal Greenway’s latest extension, highlighted the government’s dedication to this green venture. The Greenway, upon completion, will present a nearly segregated 130km route from Dublin to the River Shannon, exemplifying Ireland’s commitment to green infrastructure.
Financial Blueprint and Phased Implementation
The initial phase, involving 1,000 km of cycle routes, is estimated to cost around €677 million. The comprehensive network, to be completed by 2040, carries an indicative budget of €1.49 billion to €1.91 billion. Peter Walsh, chief executive of Transport Infrastructure Ireland, emphasized the importance of this project in fostering sustainable transportation options across Ireland.
Ireland in the European Context: A Comparative Snapshot
Ireland’s ambitious cycling infrastructure plan draws parallels and contrasts with its European counterparts. The Netherlands, a pioneer in cycling infrastructure, boasts an extensive network of over 35,000 kilometres of cycle paths. Denmark, particularly Copenhagen, is renowned for its cycling culture, with over 50% of city residents commuting by bike. Ireland’s plan, while ambitious, represents a significant step towards emulating these models of sustainable urban mobility.
Innovative Features and Future Prospects
The Irish cycling network will integrate existing greenways and new safe cycle routes along existing roads, encompassing 85 corridors. These routes are designed to enhance interconnectivity, ensuring safe and efficient travel for cyclists across the nation.
The Road Ahead
As Ireland embarks on this transformative journey, the National Cycling Network Plan stands as a testament to the country’s dedication to sustainable development and green mobility. The phased implementation of the network will not only contribute to Ireland’s climate action goals but also promote a healthier, more environmentally friendly mode of transportation for its citizens.
In conclusion, this ambitious project reflects a global shift towards sustainable urban planning and offers a glimpse into the future of transportation in Ireland. As the network unfolds over the next two decades, it is poised to redefine mobility and environmental responsibility in the Irish context, setting a benchmark for other nations to follow.