Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has today launched the publication of a ‘Belfast Cycling Network’ providing a blueprint for the development and delivery of coherent, connected and safe infrastructure for everyday cycling in the city over the next ten years.
The ‘Belfast Cycling Network’ follows a public consultation and takes account of changes that have taken place right across the world in recent years with a greater focus on active travel and sustainable modes of transport. The Network includes proposals for around 180 kilometres of arterial and orbital routes right across the city that will bring good quality cycling infrastructure within 400 metres of around three quarters of all Belfast City Council residents.
Minister Mallon said:
"I am delighted to announce this 10 year plan that will deliver infrastructure for walking, wheeling and cycling in Belfast. As part of a £3 million investment in walking and cycling in the Belfast area, some £750,000 is earmarked for Belfast Cycling Network schemes in 2021/22 as a starting point. In addition, design work on future schemes to be implemented in future years will also be undertaken.
“Towns and cities across Ireland, Europe and right across the world are being transformed into vibrant, healthy liveable places where the needs of citizens are to the fore, public spaces are being used to better effect for the physical and mental health and wellbeing of their people and climate change is being addressed through carbon reduction.
“Our Programme for Government outcomes focus on the citizen and as part of that focus we need to provide access to safe, active and sustainable transport modes to encourage people to make environmentally responsible choices about travel. Our ambitions to transform Belfast means we need to create sustainable, attractive, liveable places where people and businesses thrive.
“We are starting from a low base when it comes to existing cycle infrastructure but I have an ambition to significantly increase opportunities for active and sustainable travel, to give everyone the freedom and confidence to be able to walk, wheel or cycle in our city safely. This will not only benefit our citizens but will help tourism and our local economy by making Belfast a more attractive city to live, work and visit.
“I want to build a better future that delivers more for our citizens, socially and economically, delivering cleaner, greener and healthier communities. As we emerge from COVID, and all the changes that this has forced upon us, the Belfast Cycling Network sets out my ambition to make Belfast a more cycle friendly city. I recognise there is so much work to be done. We are basically at the start of this journey and we have to get pedalling faster. I’m up for that job and I’m realistic that change will take time but I’m crystal clear, change is needed and change is possible. By creating a network of safe cycling infrastructure over the next ten years we can also make the city better for walking and wheeling, improve public transport while encouraging more people to consider cycling as a mode of transport and reduce the dominance of cars throughout the city.”
Caroline Bloomfield, Director of Sustrans in Northern Ireland said:
"We are delighted to see the publication of the Belfast Cycling Network and pleased that the Department has taken on board many of the responses to the consultation. Since the initial consultation in 2017 Sustrans has also produced the North and West Belfast Feasibility Study which we are pleased to see has been incorporated within the final Network plan.
"Publication of the report is an important step if we are to see the critical infrastructure which will help us reach net zero emissions, reduce air pollution and enable healthier lifestyles. However, we must now see details of funding and a robust Delivery Plan setting out a clear timeframe for implementation of the Network."
The publication of the ‘Belfast Cycling Network’ is available at:
Notes to editors:
- A public consultation on the draft Belfast Bicycle Network was held in 2017. A consultation report was published in February 2018 - Consultation Report on the consultation exercise on draft Bicycle Strategy. A North and West Belfast Active Travel Feasibility Study which included consultation in those areas was carried out by Sustrans on behalf of the Department and was completed in 2019/20. These have been taken into consideration in drawing up this final Belfast Cycling Network.
- The publication of this Belfast Cycling Network fulfils a commitment set out in ‘Northern Ireland Changing Gear – a Bicycle Strategy for Northern Ireland’ which was published in August 2015 A Bicycle Strategy for Northern Ireland.
- The Belfast Cycling Network will be included in the new Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan. It is proposed that the Network will be phased in over time. The restructuring of the city centre will work in step with the implementation of a ‘Bolder Vision for Belfast’.
- The first step will be the development of a delivery plan over the next twelve months with an emphasis on joining up the existing cycle infrastructure and developing new routes across the city in order to reduce inequalities – particularly in those areas where there is a lack of good quality infrastructure.
- As this network is rolled out, work will be carried out on developing quiet streets – using trial and experimental schemes as part of the stakeholder consultation process. This will increase network density, improve access to the network and provide more connections to services for local areas.
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