Newry and Downpatrick cycling infrastructure improvement plans approved
Plans to introduce a pilot project to improve cycling infrastructure in Newry, Morne and Down (NMD) have been approved.
The proposals, which will see 19 bicycle shelters and parking stations installed across the neighborhood, were adopted by members of the Company, Regeneration and Tourism Committee on October 11.
The local authority worked on the plans as part of their Covid-19 revitalization plans and worked alongside Sustrans Northern Ireland to complete a 10-year district-wide master plan for future development active travel.
Meanwhile, council officials also said the proposals would allow them to work with schools, employers and communities in the district to actively promote travel education.
The blueprint was presented to the Sustainability and Climate Change Forum last month and will be submitted to the Active and Healthy Committee (AHC) for approval on October 18.
Deputy Director of Business, Jobs and Regeneration Jonathan McGilly said the proposed pilot project would also continue only if a “potential slippage” of funds became available to NMD’s district council.
In a report to members, further details explained: “While the Board intends to work in partnership with its own departments and with external agencies such as DFI, there is now an opportunity to start achieving one of the stated goals of improving bicycle parking. infrastructure throughout the neighborhood.
“The proposal is to install two bicycle parking shelters in Downpatrick, three in Newry, and then bicycle racks at three facilities in each of the other five DEA areas in the district.
“The exact type of infrastructure and the suitability of the locations are subject to site inspections by the AHC consultancy department and then agreed with the consultancy framework contractor.
“All of the above activities can be undertaken and delivered by the end of March 2022.”
SDLP Terry Andrews welcomed the report, saying improved cycling infrastructure was “badly needed” in the district.
He said: “In the last 18 months, due to the pandemic, we have seen a lot more people using the roads because there has been a significant increase in the number of cyclists.
“This justifies the need for bicycle shelters in the district and if it proves successful we could perhaps consider increasing the number of (bicycle) shelters even more in the future.
“I am only too happy to suggest that we go ahead with what the officers of the council recommend.”