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Matthews welcomes Additional Outdoor Infrastructure Fund

Date: 16 June 2021

Green Party TD, Steven Matthews has welcomed the €579,00 funding announced for Wicklow by Minister Eamon Ryan under the Additional Outdoor Infrastructure Fund. This funding is allocated to projects proposed by Wicklow County Council that are designed to improve the safety and quality of public spaces to allow as many people as possible to enjoy an outdoor summer.

Funding Summary

1) Arklow Town Centre Improvements (Inc. Public seating plans, bike parking facilities)

2) Rathdrum Town Centre Improvements (Inc. increased footpath space; walking facilities)

3) The Murrough Footpath Improvements (Inc. Improvement of paths, cycle lanes and public space)

4) Deerpark, Bray (2m wide cycle track to both sides over the 280m length from Boghall Road)

5) Mount Usher (Improved footpaths, walking infrastructure and public lighting)

6) Blessington Main Square (Public space provision, seating, bike parking, planters)

7) Delgany Village Centre (Creation of one-way traffic system to allow for wider safer footpaths)

8) Tinahely (Public seating in village and on popular walking routes to facilitate outdoor dining)

Discussing the funding, Deputy Matthews said:

“This funding is extremely welcome and the type of projects that have received funding put an emphasis on improving the public realm by enhancing walking infrastructure, increasing public lighting, providing cycling facilities and generally making the towns/ villages more accessible and welcoming for both residents and visitors.

“As we continue to emerge from this pandemic, we are all hoping for a semblance of normality this summer with an emphasis on outdoor activity. Many residents have rightly raised concerns with regards a lack of public seating, inaccessibility for people in wheelchairs or who have buggies and I have had many conversations with Wicklow County Council about how these issues will be tackled. For the 8 projects that have received funding, that answer has been provided but I look forward to working further with the Council on any further areas of concern.

“What is clear from the funding is that the emphasis is being placed on an outdoor summer and improving our existing facilities to accommodate social distancing and other public health measures until such a time when the country is fully vaccinated. These are the sort of improvements that the Green Party has consistently called for going back several years and hopefully we will all be able to take advantage of the improvements this summer.

“One lesson that I hope we will be able to take from this pandemic is that towns and villages should be designed for people – both residents and visitors, not just for cars. This round of public funding will assist in this regard but I will continue to work both at a national level and with Wicklow County Council to push for initiatives that focus on consistently improving our public realm, concluded Deputy Matthews.

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