National Cycling Network will see 3,500km of safe bike corridors, connecting 2.8m people in cities and towns
Minister of Transport, Eamon Ryan T.D., today welcomed the publication of the new National Cycle Network (NCN) plan which sets out how the country will criss-crossed with 3,500 km of safe, high quality and inviting cycle routes, linking over 200 cities, towns and villages and up to 2.8 million people nationally.
The NCN is composed of 85 corridors, integrating existing and planned greenways and other cycling infrastructure such as the Eurovelo routes, as well as an extensive new network of safe cycle routes along existing roads. It will also link to destinations such as transport hubs, centres of education, employment, leisure and tourist destinations, making it easier and safer for people throughout the country to choose cycling as part of their daily activities. The aim is that 80% of households and nearly 90% of jobs will be located within 5 km of the network.
The Minister launched the new NCN plan at the opening of the latest extension to the Grand Canal Greenway - an 11 km stretch from Alymers Bridge to Sallins, Co. Kildare. When completed, this Greenway will be a continuous, almost entirely segregated route along the entirety of the 130km canal stretching from Dublin to the River Shannon.
Minister Ryan said: “It is great to launch this plan today here along the Grand Canal Greenway, because it shows that we are already well on the way to developing this new visionary national cycling network, with plans also underway to fast-track delivery of a further 1,000 km of cycle routes by 2030.”
“This national cycling network will act as a core spine, connecting towns, cities and destinations across the country with safe, segregated cycling infrastructure wherever feasible. I think this will really help to encourage cycling confidence and in turn the number of trips taken by both walking and cycling amongst locals, leisure users, and tourists alike.”
Peter Walsh Chief Executive of Transport Infrastructure Ireland stated: “The Government’s commitment to sustainable transportation options is highlighted with today’s announcement of the National Cycle Network. Transport Infrastructure Ireland looks forward to delivering with our Local Authority partners and other key stakeholders this new and transformative piece of national transportation infrastructure. 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.”
The Grand Canal Greenway forms part of the over 400 km of existing greenways or other cycling infrastructure which will be included as key corridors in the new NCN. In addition, over 900 km of additional planned and proposed greenways will be included in the network. The remaining 2,200 km of the NCN will be provided along existing road infrastructure, ensuring that cycling infrastructure will be, for the most part, segregated from traffic, allowing cyclists to travel in their own space, away from road vehicles and with a higher level of safety and comfort where possible.
The NCN is part of the Government’s commitment to expand the Active Travel and Greenway infrastructure network. The Department of Transport, alongside Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) commissioned the plan to link cities and towns of over 5,000 people through a network of cycling corridors. It also represents a key initiative in helping to achieve a 51% reduction in transport emissions by 2030, as mandated in the Climate Action Plan.
As part of the National and Regional Greenways programme, the Department of Transport through TII, has invested approximately €12 million in the development of the Grand Canal Greenway since 2020 and approximately €5m on the Aylmer Bridge to Sallins section. The work undertaken has mainly related to the upgrading of the surface and widening of the existing towpath to ensure that it is compatible with best practice standards for Greenways.
The National Cycle Network plan can be viewed at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/34846-national-cycle-network/ .