The Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey TD has announced that he is making funding of €932,000 available for the development of a 4.8km off-road cycle and walking route linking Passage West to Rochestown in Cork.
He is also making €150,000 available for a 1,600m off-road cycle track linking Kilmurray with the Schoolhouse Road adjacent to Limerick city.
The aim of this new funding is to encourage more people to think about leaving their cars at home - particularly for short journeys - and to opt to cycle or walk, instead, where possible.
Minister Dempsey said - "These projects are ideal in that they provide safe routes suitable for commuters that can also be used for leisure. We already know that, nationally, over 200,000 people drive less than 4km to work every day. Investing in safe, attractive cycling and walking facilities will help to encourage more people out of their cars, particularly for short journeys.
"This announcement follows the recent success of National Bike Week in June and the announcement of €1.2m in funding for a new walking and cycling network for Carriagline, Co. Cork."
The Minister added - "I am determined to make funding available for good sustainable travel projects such as these right around the country. When you provide safe cycling and walking routes for commuters, they will use them. Investment in cycling and walking infrastructure makes good sense and I plan to announce more funding for other quality sustainable transport projects nationwide in the near future.
"By continuing our investment in high quality public transport and cycling and walking infrastructure, we can make real progress in moving Ireland from our culture of high car dependency."
The new route in Cork will deliver a high-quality cycling connection serving the town of Passage West with a direct cycle link to the city centre, Mahon and Togher employment zones. As this new route will be within the proposed National Heritage Area, it has significant potential as a cycling/walking amenity route. There are a number of primary and post primary schools at either end of the route and the delivery of this path has the potential to encourage more children to walk or cycle to school.
The project in Limerick will serve recreational cyclists (as it completes an existing loop of cycle tracks) and will improve access to the University of Limerick. The new track will give Limerick County Council and local businesses along the proposed route the opportunity to pilot some innovative sustainable travel solutions and to improve the current low cycling levels among the business community in Plassey Park.
The Passage West to Rochestown proposed route will be along a disused rail line that is already in the ownership of the local authority. It has seven different access points and is in an area where cycling and walking for both leisure and commuting will be possible. Depending on how popular this route turns out to be, there is the potential to extend the route to Douglas at a later stage.