Waterford to see fivefold increase in cycling under new draft transport strategy

The strategy provides a framework for the planning and delivery of transport infrastructure and services in Waterford over the next two decades.
Waterford to see fivefold increase in cycling under new draft transport strategy

James Cox

Waterford is set to witness a fivefold increase in the number of cycling trips across the city under new proposals contained within the draft Waterford Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (Wmats) published today by the National Transport Authority.

Wmats has been developed by the National Transport Authority (NTA) in collaboration with Waterford City and County Council, Kilkenny County Council, Southern Regional Assembly (SRA) and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

The strategy provides a framework for the planning and delivery of transport infrastructure and services in Waterford over the next two decades.

The projected 541 per cent increase in cycling is set to be enabled by the delivery of a safe cycle network consisting of 100km of cycling track and a 54km greenway network. Among the primary cycling routes to be improved within the Waterford Metropolitan Area include:

  • Abbey Road;
  • Ashe Road to New Street through Barrack Street and Newgate Street;
  • Carrickphierish Road to Morgan Street via Knockhouse Road and Gracedieu Road;
  • Cleaboy Road to Lower Yellow Road through Upper Yellow Road;
  • Cork Road to The Mall via Manor Street and Parnell Street;
  • Kilbarry Road;
  • Williamstown Road to John’s Hill along Upper Grange Road.

The draft strategy recommends progressing with the development of a new sustainable transport bridge providing pedestrian and cycle connectivity across the River Suir. Through the provision of 43km of new and upgraded footpaths, the number of daily walking trips in Waterford will increase by 55 per cent by 2040.

Another key objective of the draft strategy is the roll out the BusConnects programme in Waterford. This is set to include the provision of 63kms of bus lanes and bus priority measures across the Waterford metropolitan area.

Seventy-five new zero-emission buses and a park and ride facility will be required to service an expanded bus network spanning 100km.

The draft strategy also supports the relocation of Plunkett Station to a new site in the North Quays Innovation District to create a more direct access to Waterford City via the new sustainable transport bridge.

Future investment in road transport will be focused on maintaining, renewing and managing existing road infrastructure. This includes supporting the improvement of the existing N24 between Waterford and Cahir and the N25 between Waterford and Glenmore, in line with the provisions of the National Development Plan.

The proposed Ferrybank Relief Bank would connect Belmont Roundabout to Newrath and help create an urban village within Ferrybank.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said: “With Waterford set to grow by at least 50 per cent by 2040, there is a need to scale up the public transport network and encourage active travel to and from the city. This strategy published by the NTA today provides the blueprint for making this possible. The proposed expansion of the bus network will help encourage more people onto public transport while the delivery of a safe cycle network will increase the numbers cycling into the city by 541 per cent.

“Through Government support, I’m confident we can deliver an integrated transport network that enables the sustainable growth of the Waterford metropolitan area and creates an attractive, accessible and connected city.”

Anne Graham, CEO of the NTA, said: “The draft strategy unveiled today is focused on investing in sustainable transport and meeting the needs of a growing city.

“From BusConnects to new walking and cycling infrastructure, there is a unique opportunity to promote public transport and active travel in communities across Waterford. By rolling out these measures, we can help contribute to a 56 per cent reduction in carbon emissions within the metropolitan area by 2040.

“Public consultation on the draft strategy gets underway today and runs for six weeks. I would encourage everybody to look at our plans and have your say.”

Michael Walsh, chief executive of Waterford City and County Council, said: “Waterford City and County Council is fully committed to the Waterford Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy and working with the NTA to realise its potential.

“This new transport strategy will be instrumental in the regeneration and transformation of Waterford as a sustainable city. Providing new bus corridors and cycle tracks on routes into the city will entice more people from their cars and onto more sustainable transport modes.

“Once finalised, we can put in place the transport infrastructure that supports.”

A public consultation on the draft Wmats, which gets underway today, will run for six weeks until June 2022. As part of the consultation process, two public information events will be held on Wednesday, June 15th from 2pm to 8pm and on Thursday, June 16th from 10am to 4pm at the Tower Hotel Waterford.

To read the draft Waterford Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (Wmats) and take part in the public consultation, visit: www.nationaltransport.ie.

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