Galway Cycling Campaign welcomes the available funding for 22 new jobs in Galway City Council as part of the government investment in expanding walking and cycling facilities all over the country.
Last month, the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan T.D. and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton T.D. announced funding for up to 248 new active travel jobs in local authorities. This week, Senator Pauline O'Reilly said that 22 active travel staff had been allocated to Galway City Council, subject to the council's application for the new jobs.
Kevin Jennings, chairperson of Galway Cycling Campaign, welcomed the news. “The available funding for over 20 active travel jobs within Galway City Council gives our city the resources to transform our city landscape into safer, healthier, and more accessible streets for all ages and abilities. Council policy has been stymied by a lack of staff to implement their ambitious Development Plan. This changes now."
“Better walking and cycling infrastructure like protected cycleways, pedestrian crossings and wider footpaths will improve the health of city residents. Walking, wheeling, cycling and scooting will become an attractive and safe choice for short journeys. It will improve economic competitiveness by making Galway a resilient, sustainable and liveable city," he said.
“More people switching to short journeys by foot or cycle will reduce congestion, emissions, noise and air pollution."
“Galway Cycling Campaign has long advocated for a dedicated cycling officer in each local authority. We warmly welcome the investment by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party in diverse teams of experts in local authorities across the country," he concluded.
Active Travel Teams are expected to be multidisciplinary. As per the Department of Transport announcement, new staff will be dedicated to delivering and promoting active travel and will work across design and communication/community liaison functions.
'Galwegians of all ages and abilities deserve safe walking and cycling facilities'
Minister Ryan has requested that an Active Travel Officer be dedicated to behavioural change and promotional activity.
Robert Burns, Director of Infrastructure and Climate Change in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, said the multidisciplinary nature of an Active Travel Team is the key to success. He tweeted, “Fusion of knowledge and skills on planning, urban design and engineering will result in creative, collaborative, technically-sound, safe and attractive solutions."
'Children can travel to school safely'
Minister Naughton said that the dedicated resources will implement Government commitments such as the new Safe Routes to School programme. “This Programme will ensure that children of all ages and backgrounds can travel to school safely, and in a healthy and active way.”
Galway Cycling Campaign said that Galway County Council deserves its fair share of new Active Travel Team jobs too.
“Funding was awarded by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, last month to Portumna, Belclare, Leitir Móir and others as part of the Town and Village Renewal Scheme. It shows the need for basic infrastructure like pedestrian crossings, outdoor seating, cycle parking, walking routes, and footpath upgrades across the county. Galwegians of all ages and abilities deserve safe walking and cycling facilities," said Mr Jennings. "