The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) is working alongside five local councils and key stakeholders to draft proposals for the future transport network in Antrim & Newtownabbey, Ards & North Down, Belfast City, Lisburn & Castlereagh City and Mid & East Antrim Council areas. These proposals are to be set out in the Eastern Transport Plan 2035 (ETP 2035).
The aim for the Plan is to provide attractive and viable alternative modes of transport to reduce unnecessary car journeys, which in turn will create safer, healthier communities by reducing carbon emission and improving air quality.
From this week, people living in the areas covered by ETP 2035 can have their say on the key elements which will shape the Plan.
Sian Kerr, DfI Director of Transport Planning and Policy said: “The future of transport really matters because we all need to use the network each time we travel. That is why we want to hear from as many people living within the five council plan area as we set out the draft vision, objectives and guiding principles for ETP 2035. By taking a few minutes to respond to our questionnaire, residents can help us to understand local challenges and priorities to help shape the new Eastern Transport Plan.”
The questionnaire, also seeks views on a range of current transport challenges and asks what it would take to persuade motorists to opt for more environmentally sustainable ways of travelling such as walking, cycling or public transport instead of the car.
Ms Kerr added: “The aspiration is to make the transport network healthier and a more enjoyable place to be. Along with the questionnaire, we have provided artist’s impressions of what streetscapes could look like in the future under ETP 2035 to help bring the possible options to life.”
The Plan is being developed by DfI in conjunction with a consortium of consultants headed up by Atkins.
Damian Murray, Project Manager from Atkins said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with DfI and our partners Sustrans and The Paul Hogarth Company, to develop an ambitious transport plan which meets the needs of local people. Against the backdrop of the climate emergency, we must ensure that transport plays its part in reducing carbon emissions.”
Caroline Bloomfield from Sustrans said: “It is vitally important that the infrastructure for walking, wheeling and cycling is in place to meet the future needs of all our citizens. We are pleased to input into the new Eastern Transport Plan which has sustainable transport at its heart and we hope that this new plan will lay the foundations for cleaner, healthier travel.”
James Hennessey from The Paul Hogarth Company said: “We look forward to hearing the priorities of the public, to help identify the right balance of transport choices for our cities and towns, villages and neighbourhoods and our streets and spaces. Great places need great connectivity.”