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Over 200 areas to be linked in cycling network plan

Ireland’s planned National Cycle Network will be made up of 85 corridors connecting places as far north as Buncrana in Co Donegal and as far south as Kinsale in Co Cork.

Over 200 cities, towns, and villages will be interlinked by over 3,500km of cycleway, according to the Government.

The plan was officially launched at the Grand Canal Greenway near Sallins in Co Kildare this morning.

Over 2.8 million people are expected to benefit from the routes which are being planned with educational institutes, business districts, tourist destinations, and other transport hubs in mind.

The Government is hoping the corridors will help it achieve its target of reducing transport emissions by 51% by 2030, although it is expected to be 2040 before the full network is completed.

What are the routes?

The map below shows the National Cycle Network routes that were published today.

The destinations in it have been split into three categories: Those are primary, secondary, and ‘other’ nodes.

Primary nodes are made up of cities and large towns with populations of over 20,000 people.

Some of these include places like Cork, Galway, Limerick, Bray, Portlaoise, Wicklow, Wexford, Letterkenny and Tralee.

Secondary nodes are made up of towns with populations of 10,000-20,000 as well as major tourist attractions outside of urban areas.

Other nodes include small towns and settlements of less than 5,000 people, as well as educational and employment centres and transport hubs.

The National Cycling Network’s proposed routes

The Department of Transport said that the corridors it has identified are around 4km and “provide an indicative alignment for the development of future routes”.

It added that around 80% of Ireland’s households and 89% of job locations will be within 5km of the network.

Out of the 3,500km of outlined route, 400km is in use today while 900km of it had already been confirmed as part of different regional and national greenway programmes.

The remaining 2,200km will require new provisions outside of those programmes.

The network’s delivery has been split into three phases, with the first already under way, the second seeing 660km rolled out between 2026 and 2030, and then the final 2,510km due to become operational between 2031 and 2040.

Speaking this morning, Minister of Transport Eamon Ryan said that the network will act as a “core spine” for Ireland’s towns and cities.

He also said that cycling infrastructure will be kept segregated from motor traffic where it’s possible, and that he believes these routes will encourage more people to cycle over the coming years.

Chief Executive of Transport Infrastructure Ireland Peter Walsh said that the infrastructure will also help to support a “more sustainable future for the country”.

Kildare

Phase 1 of the Kildare section of the Grand Canal Greenway was officially opened today.

The 11km section runs from Sallins to Alymers Bridge, as well as a new pedestrian bridge in Sallins.

It is hoped that its opening will encourage people to cycle to Sallins, where there are established commuter routes to Celbridge and Dublin.

Phase 2 of the project is currently in its design stage and will focus on more links to the new Greenway. Details are set to be published later this month.

Cathaoirleach of the County of Kildare, Councillor Daragh Fitzpatrick said the Grand Canal Greenway is a “significant infrastructure and sustainable development project” for the county.

Sonya Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Kildare County Council said: “Greenways and the associated walking and cycle routes and facilities represent significant economic and wellbeing benefits, and we look forward to seeing these here in Sallins and across the entire county.”


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