The recently formed government of Ireland has dramatically stepped up the support for walking and cycling. In the draft Programme for Government – Our Shared Future it pledges to allocate 10% of the entire transport budget to supporting walking and another 10% to supporting cycling projects. A total of roughly €360 million to be invested annually, amounting to about €1M daily for improving walking and cycling in Ireland!
This focus on people centred and climate friendly transport has been spearheaded by Eamon Ryan, leader of the Irish Green Party and new Irish Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport. Mister Ryan has previously owned a bike shop but is also well aware about the importance of walking for a sustainable transport. At the launch of the draft coalition programme the Minister said:
“We often forget about walking, but it’s equally important.”
We are looking forward to the many improvements for people walking in Ireland and to working with them. Bronwen and Jim joined the Get Ireland Walking Stakeholder Event earlier this year to revisit the GIW Strategy and Action Plan and scope the potential for a National Walking Strategy for Ireland. Jim will be going to speak in Donegal in October. So expect more Ireland-related walking news in the near future!
Meanwhile in Dublin, the response to the impact of COVID-19 is thoughtful, with a range of mobility interventions undertaken for Dublin City that are grounded in data and forward looking.
With good baseline data, they were able to predict a 100% increase in walking and develop a responsive approach and range of measures that could quickly target where the need was highest and provide additional capacity and reduce wait times.
We have seen this in many cities – those municipalities with existing knowledge about people walking, can act more quickly and effectively in a time of crisis and changing demand.