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Thursday, 10 December 2020

Government must move up a gear in Active Travel investment

Original Government Greenway Strategy in 2016

North Down Alliance Assembly Member, Andrew Muir MLA has raised the need for progress over the establishment of Greenways and other Active Travel measures across North Down after the Infrastructure Minister confirmed just £22,500 will be spent in the constituency during the current financial year. 

Commenting on the issue Mr Muir said “The Northern Ireland Government Greenway Strategy was launched in November 2016 and aims to create 1,000 kilometres of routes along former railway lines, inland waterway paths and other ways to link the Northern Ireland in a new traffic-free network. As we seek to build back a better and more sustainable future from the awful COVID-19 pandemic it’s vital government delivers upon their commitments in creating routes which enable active travel and healthy lifestyles developed in full collaboration and consultation with local people. 

A number of projects have been funded to date but sadly North Down remains at back of the queue with the Infrastructure Minister confirming that the paltry sum of just £22,500 has been set aside for North Down in the current financial year. The Department for Infrastructure must seriously redouble efforts to assist local Councils to deliver Greenways Infrastructure across Northern Ireland which protects of the natural environment and enables safe sharing of paths. 

I will soon be meeting with Ards and North Down Borough Council Officers to discuss what can be done to help progress Greenway plans already in development and will continue to urge the Minister for Infrastructure to moves things up a gear putting the wheels in motion towards greater investment in Active Travel and Greenway Infrastructure across North Down. With many people re-thinking their transport options it’s essential we make cycling and walking as accessible as possible in the future."

Alliance calls for progress on Belfast Road Crossing Measures

Belfast Road, Bangor

Alliance representatives have called upon the Department for Infrastructure to urgently progress planned works for the installation of pedestrian refuges and other road safety measures on the Belfast Road between the Springhill Flyover and Bangor Town Centre. 

Following a recent report from the Department for Infrastructure to Ards and North Down Borough Council, Alliance Councillor Scott Wilson commented “After campaigning for on this issue since 2014 I am frustrated to learn of this further delay. DfI have updated us that the issue is still under consideration and that they will continue to seek an appropriate location for the crossing. While a crossing would be ideal, I can’t understand why the failure to find a suitable location would halt the other work that was promised, which included a number of pedestrian refuge islands” 

“Local residents are desperate for a safe way to cross this very busy section of the Belfast Road and feel they have been let down by the department. I will continue to raise this until the next steps have been confirmed.” 

Commenting on the issue North Down Alliance MLA Andrew Muir said “I was disappointed to learn of the delay to these works after submitting a Written Assembly Question to the Minister for Infrastructure seeking an update over the issue.” 

“Works had originally been due to be included in the programme for the financial year 2019/20 but the Minister updated that the Department had been unable to identify a suitable location for the crossing due to a variety of factors including proximity to junctions and locations of businesses and accesses. This work should have been completed already, and residents are clearly frustrated that what was promised appears to have been shelved. I have written to the Department for Infrastructure Divisional Roads Manager urging for this to be progressed at the earliest opportunity."