Plans to introduce a pilot scheme with the aim of improving the cycling infrastructure in Newry, Mourne and Down (NMD) have been approved.
The proposals, which will see 19 bike shelters and parking stations installed across the district, were passed by members of the Enterprise, Regeneration and Tourism Committee on October 11.
The local authority have been working on the plans as part of their Covid-19 revitalisation plans and have been working alongside Sustrans Northern Ireland to complete a district wide 10-year masterplan for the future development of active travel.
Meanwhile, council officers also said that the proposals would allow them to work with schools, employers and communities across the district to roll out active travel educational promotion.
The masterplan was presented to the Sustainability and Climate Change Forum last month and will be subject to approval at the Active and Healthy Committee (AHC) on October 18.
Assistant Director of Enterprise, Employment and Regeneration, Jonathan McGilly, said the proposed pilot scheme would also only proceed if “potential slippage” of monies became available to NMD District Council.
In a report to members, further detail explained: “While Council intends to work in partnership across its own Departments and with external agencies such as DFI, there is now an opportunity to begin to deliver on one of the stated objectives of enhancing the Cycle Parking infrastructure across the district.
“The proposal is to install two Cycle Parking Shelters in Downpatrick, three in Newry and then Cycle Stands within three settlements in each of the other five DEA areas across the district.
“The exact type of infrastructure and suitability of locations are subject to site inspections by the Councils AHC Department and then agreed with the Council Framework Contractor.”
SDLP Terry Andrews welcomed the report, saying the improvement of cycling infrastructure was “much needed” in the district.
He said: “Over the last 18 months because of the pandemic we have seen a lot more people taking to the roads as there has been a major increase in the number of cyclists.
“This warrants the need for cycle shelters in the district and if this is proven successful then maybe we could look at increasing the number of (cycle) shelters even more in the future.
“I am only too happy to propose that we go ahead with what the council officers are recommending.”