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Matthews secures approval for Wicklow transport plan

Steven Matthews, Green Party TD for Wicklow says the transport plan approved for Wicklow County Council under the Department of Transport, Pathfinder project is ambitious, innovative and can be delivered quickly.

Welcoming the approval, Deputy Matthews said “Wicklow County Council has gone big and ambitious in this plan, in response to Minister Eamon Ryan’s request for councils to identify projects that will provide easier choices to use public transport and cycle safely to town or school and to help cut our transport emissions. Only councils which have submitted exemplar projects have been selected and I am delighted to have worked closely with Wicklow on the project, to secure the backing of the Department of Transport to support the accelerated roll out of the proposal.”

The plan for Wicklow will be delivered by Wicklow County Council and will fast-track the delivery of a number of core walking and cycling infrastructure projects providing connectivity to towns within Wicklow, focusing in particular on multiple routes in Wicklow Town and Greystones with extensions to Ashford and Newtownmountkennedy and Rathnew. The project will include the provision of high quality, safe, legible pedestrian and cycle links to train stations and public transport hubs in the county.

“The approved project has many similar routes and ideas to those contained in a recent integrated transport plan I published for these areas” said Matthews. “Good safe routes from Greystones to the town centre and the rail station, connection to Kilcoole and to Kilcoole Railway Station and a further option to connect to Newcastle. The proposal includes multiple routes from Wicklow Town, including a safe route from Rathnew to the Rail station and an extended route to Ashford.

“At the core of the project is connectivity to the rail line where I am continuously working successfully towards providing an electrified rail service to Wicklow Town. The provision of a DART to Wicklow Town has been approved by the NTA and I am working with the Department of Transport and Irish Rail to proceed with the engineering works to enable the service. I am also working with the NTA on improving rural bus services such as a Roundwood to Bray Railway service and ensuring timely delivery of rural routes under Connecting Ireland and urban routes under the Bus Connects project.”

“Wicklow has long been neglected in terms of public transport investment, but the success of this application shows that with the right political leadership and through working with Wicklow County Council and the Department of Transport, our county will get the public transport, cycle paths and safe walking routes that our residents deserve. Nobody really wants to sit on a congested N11 when the alternative can be a reliable DART service or express bus from one of the planned park and ride locations along the route and with good safe cycling access to the transport hubs, our towns, schools and shops. The overall scheme will now be supported and resourced by the Department of Transport to proceed quickly and with support of the local councillors can deliver safe routes, economic benefits and real opportunity to reduce transport climate emissions and air quality improvement. Another important aspect is the acceleration and delivery of Safe Routes to School with approximately 500 schools to have front of school zones completed and cycle parking in place by 2025,” concluded Deputy Matthews.

Notes for Editor

Minister Ryan launches transformative Pathfinder Projects to bring more public transport, walking and cycling options to our villages, towns, and cities by 2025

• 35 projects

• 19 counties

• 19 walking and cycling projects

• Reaching 500 schools

• 5 cities

• 6 ’10 minute’ neighbourhoods

• 5 transformative public transport projects

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan T.D. today launched the Pathfinder Programme of 35 exemplar transport projects to be delivered by local authorities and agencies around the country within the next three years.

The projects are those selected following Minister Ryan’s call to local authorities over the summer to submit their most innovative, transformative plans for public transport, walking and cycling in their areas – the projects that could make the greatest difference to people living in their counties.

• The Pathfinder Programme is an initiative aimed at ensuring the projects selected are provided the impetus to deliver quickly and demonstrate what can be achieved with the right level of ambition and innovation.

• The Sustainable Mobility Policy, which was published in April 2022, commits the Government to deliver at least 500,000 additional daily active travel and public transport journeys and a 10% reduction in kilometres driven by fossil fuelled cars by 2030.

• The objectives of the Pathfinder Programme is fully aligned with the recommendations of the OECD report on Transport in Ireland [”Redesigning transport: Towards Irish transport systems that work for people and the planet”] which was published last week. In their report, the OECD recognised that the Sustainable Mobility Policy has “medium to high potential” to bring about transformative change to the structure of Ireland’s transport system, and strongly recommended that implementation of the SMP be further prioritised and scaled up.

• All local authorities will be invited to participate in “Smart and Sustainable Mobility Training Workshops” over the next three years. These workshops, which are themselves a pathfinder project, are being developed through the Regional Assemblies to build capacity in the sustainable mobility space.



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