Green Party Minister of State, Malcolm Noonan, and Green Councillor, Maria Dollard, have
welcomed the inclusion of Kilkenny City in a new €50m fund for cycling and walking in towns and villages outside the larger urban centres across the country.
'This new funding is specifically designed for our towns, villages, and rural areas and I will work with Kilkenny County Council to ensure that Kilkenny City and our scheduled towns maximise the benefit from this fund. Minister Ryan has said that he wants to fund the development of active travel network strategies, the provision of new / widened footpaths or segregated cycle tracks, improved crossing facilities for pedestrians/cyclists, and a wide range of other measures.'
‘I want to see Kilkenny become a great place to walk and cycle because this brings not only environmental benefits but health and community benefits too', said Cllr Maria Dollard.
'In particular I’d like to see safe walking and cycling routes rolled out that give children safe options for walking and cycling to school in our towns and villages. Councils can roll out this infrastructure quickly using Section 38 of the Roads Act which allows them to quickly build segregated cycle tracks and widened footpaths on existing roads without using the Part 8 planning process’, said Cllr Dollard.
Minister Noonan said that the funding would help Kilkenny City as the country emerges from the pandemic, to become an exemplar for sustainable mobility and reconfigure the urban centre away from car centred road engineering solutions and out of date infrastructure.
‘Many of the adaptations to COVID-19 introduced in the summer have worked well; the one way system, cycle lane protection at St Canice’s School, and the seating area in the market yard in particular. It is important now that Kilkenny County Council work with the members of the municipal district and engage with people and business in the city to bring about transformative change’.
‘Similarly too, we can add to works already carried out in Thomastown, Callan, and Castlecomer to make the town centres more vibrant and conducive to cycling and walking. This is core to our objectives on ‘town centres first’ and realising a vibrant future for Kilkenny’s beautiful built heritage’, concluded Cllr Dollard.