Major announcement of 248 jobs in active travel infrastructure and a Regional Cycle Design office for Waterford.

Major announcement of 248 jobs in active travel infrastructure and a Regional Cycle Design office for Waterford.

Waterford TD welcomes major announcement of 248 jobs in active travel infrastructure and a Regional Cycle Design office for Waterford.

Waterford TD Marc Ó Cathasaigh welcomed today’s announcement of 248 jobs by his Green Party colleague Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan T.D which will see new Active Travel positions being created in Waterford City and County Council but also the opening of a Regional Cycling Design Office – expected to be located in Tramore.

Speaking after the announcement of 218 new jobs in Local Authorities throughout the country and 30 jobs in the Regional Cycling Design offices, Minister Ryan said: “Developing high quality walking and cycling facilities will encourage more people to switch to active travel and will contribute to tackling climate change. Really good design is what is needed to connect communities and make walking and cycling attractive, safe and accessible to everyone. I am delighted to confirm that we will fund dedicated resources in all local authorities to deliver on the commitments in the Programme for Government. This is a game-changer in terms of delivering high-quality infrastructure across the country in both rural and urban areas.”

Deputy Ó Cathasaigh said: “I have been campaigning for safe cycling and walking infrastructure for a number of years now and today’s announcement brings this a lot closer to reality. We all want to see our  children being able to walk, cycle or scoot to school safely and then go on to their after-school activities or just cycle to the shop but in so many of our towns and villages, that’s not possible – the infrastructure just isn’t there. Cycle lanes are rare and where they do exist, they’re not as safe as they could be and in many cases they peter out at a crossing or they end abruptly at a corner.”

“Many people also want to make short journeys on foot but it’s not always possible. At the moment, there are many roads leading into our towns and villages which don’t have footpaths and this results in car journeys for small trips that could be made on foot if the paths were available. Today’s announcement will turn this around in our towns, villages and cities.”

He added: “We committed in the Programme for Government that €1.8bn would be spent on walking and cycling over the lifetime of the Government. That translates to €1million per day. The jobs announced today will quadruple the number of people working in our local authorities on active-travel. Staff recruited will have expertise in urban design, engineering and behavioural change and they will help create linked up and accessible communities where people of all ages and abilities can walk, cycle and get around their localities safely.”

As part of the plan developed by the National Transport Authority, up to 218 additional staff will be employed across the local authorities with an additional 30 proposed for Regional Cycling Design Offices.

The new staff will support the delivery of almost 1,000 kilometres of improved walking and cycling infrastructure by 2025.

The proposal fulfils a number of important Programme for Government commitments in relation to active travel and will ensure that increased infrastructure investment is overseen by dedicated and adequately resourced local authorities across the country.

In relation to the Regional Cycling Design Office, Deputy Ó Cathasaigh said: “The Regional Cycling Design Offices will play a crucial role in creating a joined-up network of cycling routes throughout the regions so that cycling can become an attractive and realistic option for more people. It is hoped that Waterford’s office will be based in Tramore where staff will work on design, community liaison and overseeing construction. It really is a good news day for communities and the environment.”

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