AQW 25543/11-15

Mr Daithí McKay
Sinn Féin
North Antrim

Tabled Date: 11/09/2013
Answered On Date: 27/09/2013
Priority Written: No

To ask the Minister for Regional Development how he plans to improve cycling safety and infrastructure in Ballymena.

The Sub Regional Transport Plan, published by the Department in 2007, contained blueprints to guide the future development of cycling infrastructure in a number of key towns including Ballymena.
Work completed in the Ballymena area to date includes the development of National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 97 from Ballymena to Glenarm, NCN Route 96 from Toome towards Ballymoney, and links along parts of the A26 Larne Road Link, Crebilly Road and Galgorm Road from County Hall to Gracehill.
Officials from my Department have been working with counterparts from Ballymena Borough Council over the past year to consider future cycle routes within the town and have agreed on three main routes to be developed as finance becomes available over the coming years. These routes will combine sections adjacent to existing roads with sections through council owned parkland and include:
providing links to NCN Route 97 (Ballymena to Glenarm) via Fry’s Road, Grove Road, Doury Road, Sentry Hill and The People’s Park to Ballymoney Road;
completing links to NCN 97 along parts of the A26 Larne Road Link; and
linking route NCN 97 towards Route 94 Loughshore Trail via Moat Road, Pennybridge Footpath, Ballee Way and Ballee Road West as well as along the Antrim Road.
I am aware that cyclists are particularly vulnerable road users and their safety needs to be treated as a high priority. I am also aware that the perception of danger is a key factor that discourages greater use of cycling, as a mode of transport. I have therefore asked my officials to ensure the new cycling unit, which is being established in my Department, ensures greater priority and increased focus is given to safety issues, relating to cycling.