Cork has 'huge potential' for new greenways to be developed quickly

Cork has 'huge potential' for new greenways to be developed quickly

Part of the greenway between Carrigaline and Crosshaven.

Cork has “huge potential” to build a range of new greenways “relatively quickly”, according to the transport and environment minister.

Eamon Ryan, speaking as his department unveiled its budget for 2021, said there were a plethora of greenway projects across Munster that would benefit in the coming years.

In particular, those in Cork present the best opportunities, he said.

He said: “We will be looking at a route from Carrigtwohill to Dunkettle, so that road project includes major cycling infrastructure to have people to cycle east to west in and out of Cork.” 

A family enjoys the scenery at Knock near Clonea, Dungarvan, on the stunning Waterford Greenway which stretches from Waterford City all the way down to Dungarvan. Eamon Ryan hopes to replicate this success in other areas.
A family enjoys the scenery at Knock near Clonea, Dungarvan, on the stunning Waterford Greenway which stretches from Waterford City all the way down to Dungarvan. Eamon Ryan hopes to replicate this success in other areas.

He pointed to a similar route from Passage to the city centre greenway as another “high quality” project.

“There is huge potential in my mind in Cork to connect, in the South Mall along some of the other routes where we could put together really exciting construction in Cork, and relatively quickly,” Mr Ryan said.

“The same with the Castletroy urban greenway in Limerick, the Bilbury to Waterford city centre greenway, same with the new bridge across the River Suir in Waterford, same with the new bridge across the Shannon,” he added.

Such greenways changes the whole perception of the public realm, he said.

In my mind, it is not just for cyclists. If you look at what has happened on the Dun Laoghaire seafront, it changes the whole sense of the local environment, for the better. All these various greenways and urban cycling projects will help do that.

Local authorities were urged to take advantage of the commitment of the departments towards funding such projects.

“Come at us now with plans and schemes, particularly in the Covid-19 emergency time, to use some of the measures Dun Laoghaire used in Section 38 of the Road Act where, on a testing basis, they were able to institute infrastructure that didn’t take five years.

“What was said to those councils (Cork, Limerick, Galway and Dublin) was to come back and do the same (as Dun Laoghaire). We want to see them advancing ambitious projects. We will, through the National Transport Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland, support as best we can.” 

Greenways are not just for tourists, but provide essential transport for local citizens, he said, pointing to a successful model in Britain for integration. 

In the UK, greenways run right into town. Greenways bring you to school, help you get to the shop, they are part of tourism but more than anything else, they are local transport projects. It is integrating the network.

In 2021, the departments of transport and environment will see €360m to support walking and cycling projects nationwide, including approximately €50m for greenways. It is the highest ever allocation dedicated to these types of cycle ways, according to the departments.

Projects earmarked in the €360m include the Royal Canal cycle scheme; a new walking and cycling bridge over the River Shannon at Athlone; the Clontarf to city centre cycle scheme; the extension of Grand Canal greenway in Offaly; the River Dodder cycle route; the Donabate estuary walking and cycling Route; and cycle networks in Kildare.

In Munster, unspecified "strategic cycle corridors" are earmarked for Cork, as well as the refurbishment of the Great Southern greenway in Limerick; the Golf Links Road to Clare St to Condell Road at the University of Limerick to the National Technology Park, Limerick; and the Bilberry to Waterford city centre.

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