TRANSPORT Minister Alan Kelly has approved funding totalling €100,000 for a new walkway and cycleway in Oranmore.
This grant is part of an overall €4.5 million package announced by Minister Kelly for walking and cycling infrastructure around Ireland under the Active Travel Towns Programme.
Oranmore was one of the 11 towns selected for the creation of local cycling and walking strategies – including new cycle lanes, provision of walkways and behavioural change initiatives in local schools and workplaces to encourage people to switch their transport mode.
Under this plan, the Gaelscoil and housing areas will be linked with the town centre to allow school children to walk safely to school. Oranmore is included in the draft Galway City and Environs Walking and Cycling Strategy.
By providing the footpath and footbridge, this route to school for pedestrians will improve road safety and act as a catalyst and provide good example for schools to encourage children to walk to school safely.
Galway County Council will engage with schools and communities to encourage behavioural change.
This funding has been welcomed by Labour Galway West Deputy, Derek Nolan, who predicted it would create a safer environment for walking and cycling in Oranmore.
“Population levels in this area of Galway have increased substantially over the past few years, with the number of residents now standing at 4,517. As a result, it is imperative that a walking and cycling strategy is implemented in this area,” he said.
The principal objective of the Active Travel Towns programme is to achieve modal shift from car to either walking and/or cycling within towns.
A competitive funding scheme was launched in April seeking local authority proposals to deliver walking and cycling infrastructure with a key focus on behavioural change interventions in towns around the country.
In total, 46 projects were submitted under this funding call from 19 local authorities. Funding is now being provided for 11 of these proposals.
Minister Kelly explained the Active Travel Towns programme represents further investment in the National Cycle Policy Framework as set out under the Programme for Government.
“Through this programme, the Government is trying to create a more cycle-friendly and walking-friendly culture in Ireland. Infrastructure is one dimension but you have to do more to get people to change their behaviour. Better infrastructure needs to be combined with education initiatives and that is exactly what we are doing with this programme,” he said.