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26-03-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
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Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

30-04-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
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Hilltown Farmers Market

01-05-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
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Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

28-05-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
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Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

25-06-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
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Hilltown Farmers Market

03-07-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
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Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

30-07-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
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Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

27-08-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Iúr Cinn Fleadh

Iúr Cinn Fleadh

27-08-2022 2:00 pm -11:55 pm
Iúr Cinn Fleadh

Iúr Cinn Fleadh

28-08-2022 2:00 pm -11:55 pm
Iúr Cinn Fleadh

Iúr Cinn Fleadh

29-08-2022 2:00 pm -11:55 pm
Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

24-09-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

29-10-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

26-11-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
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An in-depth 10 Year Active Travel Masterplan has been approved by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council which aims to creates a vision to transform our district, making it bike and pedestrian friendly and connecting our towns and villages with safe and attractive walks, cycle paths and greenways.

The report runs to over 200 pages and contains 129 recommendations for Newry City alone. These range from short term fixes such as cycle parking and ensuring all primary school age children in the district are offered free cycle training through their school to long term projects such as a new waterfront park linking Newry Canal Towpath to and a new Greenbank trail greenway and Albert Basin cycling and walking bridge from the proposed park to the Warrenpoint Road.

A map of some of the suggested routes in Newry City.
A map of some of the suggested routes in Newry City.

The Masterplan which contains 385 recommendations for Newry, Mourne and Down was commissioned from Sustrans in January 2021 to set out a 10 year vision for the area with the aim of making cycling and walking in the district a viable and attractive travel choice. It involved engagement with stakeholders and a public consultation earlier this year.

A Council spokesperson said "The latest Travel Survey for Northern Ireland from the Department for Infrastructure reveals that just 1% of all journeys are by cycle and 18% by walking but the car is still the dominant mode of transport and represents 71% of all journeys in Northern Ireland. Newry, Mourne and Down District Council recognises there is an urgent need to move to more sustainable low carbon transport, and this includes making improvements to the cycling and walking infrastructure within the district area. "

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY - "THE MIRACLE PILL"

Giving the rationale behind the need for change the report gives some very stark statistics, explaining that *almost half (46%) of the adult population in Northern Ireland are physically inactive, one in every four adults in NI is obese and Diabetes has risen by 71% since 2004/2005.

The report explains that "Physical activity has been called the ‘miracle pill’ with a more active lifestyle having an almost miraculous effect in alleviating many of these conditions.

For many of the common causes of ill-health that we see in Northern Ireland, people who undertake moderate physical activity have 35% lower risk of heart disease and stroke, and between 50% and 20% lower risk of different forms of cancer. The risk of developing depression, dementia, stress, and anxiety is reduced by 30%. The risk of osteoarthritis is reduced by 83% and falls by 30% because physical activity improves mobility and balance. Additionally, confidence, self- efficacy, transferable skills and employment opportunities are enhanced among people who are physically active." **

The document explains how health is fundamental to wellbeing, ie If people are not healthy, it is harder for them to participate fully in society, it is harder for them to work and care for their loved ones, and it is harder for people to be happy. It also makes it harder for people to remain independent as they grow old

The report explains that it's more than just highlighting benefits, it's also about making a shift away from motor vehicles "when we highlight the benefits of active travel, we should also highlight the negative consequences of travel by car or other motor vehicles. Although cycling and walking in their own right have value, the benefits of active travel are only fully realised when a modal shift away from these vehicles towards more sustainable modes of transport is achieved.

"Motor vehicles emit carbon, motor vehicles pollute the air, motor vehicles cause fatal road collisions, the convenience of motor vehicles leads to sedentary lifestyles and motor vehicle infrastructure is responsible for severance and poor public realm. So in making the case for active travel, we are also making the case for making fewer trips by car."

CONGESTION/ INDUCED DEMAND

Mentioning that congestion is seen as a huge issue in Newry the report mentioning the proposed Southern Relief Road introduces the concept of 'induced demand' which suggests that counter intuitively building new roads, widening roads, and smoothing traffic flow is only likely to make congestion worse in the long term. *** "Building in extra capacity to a highway network encourages people to drive further and more often, and precipitates an increased dependency on motor vehicles."

By contrast the report adds that "reducing road space for motor vehicles and providing infrastructure for active travel has been shown to alleviate congestion. This concept known as traffic evaporation **** occurs because drivers change their behaviour when road conditions change. If road space (and parking spaces) are reduced, drivers choose to walk and cycle more, or perhaps make a driven trip at a different time of day or choose a different route."

A stark statistic from the NI Census 2011 show that 20.37% of residents within our district live within 2 km of their place of work but only 7.26% of those travelling to work do so on foot or on bicycl

A Visionary Document

Sinn Féin Group Leader in Council Barra Ó Muirí has given a warm welcome to the Active Travel Masterplan and called it a visionary document

Cllr Ó Muirí explained how the plan would not only increase opportunities for cyclists and pedestrians, but also how it would improve safety for children coming and going to our local schools.

Cllr Barra Ó Muiri

"The Masterplan includes recommendations for Newtownhamilton and Crossmaglen, such as the installation of Pedestrian crossings at our schools and on busy parts of our streets, the improvement of junctions at the Square in both towns and a proposal to introduce Modal Filters which would limit through-journeys along certain streets at certain times of the day. This, in particular, would be a game-changer for the residents of Dungormley Estate in Newtown who have campaigned for such a change for decades.

"Walking routes which have been proposed will lead to a more active community and should have an immediate benefit to the health and well-being of all our residents. It is now incumbent upon all community groups, political parties and residents to support these proposals and campaign for their implementation. Sinn Féin will certainly lead the charge."

THE NEWRY CITY PROPOSALS

Referring to the 2011 Newry City Masterplan the report says that pedestrians and cyclists face a hostile and inhospitable urban environment. With dangerous crossings, noise, air pollution, poor pedestrian realm and lack of cycle routes being significant issues. Proposals were also made for many other local towns and villages which can be read in the Masterplan from the link below.

GREENWAYS

one of the proposals is to remove barriers from the towpath to enable cyclists to access it easier. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
One of the proposals is to remove barriers from the towpath to enable cyclists to access it easier. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Newry Canal Towpath

On the Newry Canal Towpath the report recommends the removal of access barriers and a feasibility study conducted on the provision of lighting for the path. It also says path widening in parts should be investigated while enhancements including public art, drinking fountains and public toilets should be investigated.

Carlingford Lough Greenway

The report also recommends widening of this popular route and the addition of public art and toilets also. the link between Victoria Lock and Omeath should be completed by 2023

Greenway Towpath Connection

The Carlingford Lough Greenway ends at Albert Basin about 1.5km south of the start of the Newry to Portadown towpath. Despite the proximity of these greenways start points, there is currently no safe way to cycle between the two greenways through Newry City Centre. Delivering this connection would enable safe cycling all the way from Craigavon to Carlingford. In the long term, depending on the progress of other greenway sections, this may potentially enable safe cycling from Belfast to Dundalk.

Proposed Greenways

The Masterplan has proposed several new greenways throughout the area mentioned in the Strategic Plan for Greenways (2016)and recommends feasibility studies be carried out. These include Bessbrook to Newry taking in the route under the 18 Arches and Newry to Armagh making use of the disused Lissummon and Loughgilly tunnels.The report suggests Newry to Newcastle and Newry to Warrenpoint routes but these would have to have a significant part on the road. Three other suggested Newry based greenways are also mentioned below.

Newry Waterfront Park Greenway

The report explains that a new linear city park at the heart of Newry City was proposed in the Newry City Centre Masterplan (2011). "This would provide much needed public and green space, in a city that lacks a large park. This project would also provide a largely traffic free walking and cycling link between Portadown Greenway and the Albert Basin, where the Carlingford Lough Greenway begins, creating a ‘super greenway’, which could in the future link Belfast to Dundalk"

The new park would be located between the Clanyre River and the Newry Canal and would require the removal of several car parks, potential relocation of the bus station, and the delivery of regeneration projects at Sugar Island and Albert Basin. Feasibility work has already been carried out on certain sections of this project, both by local group Newry 2020, and NMDDC.

Greenbank Trail

Proposals are also included for the embankment behind Greenbank Industrial Estate "While proposals to deliver this as part of an extended greenway between Newry and Warrenpoint don’t look feasible, this short section of greenway could become an excellent local leisure route. If a walking and cycling bridge was also delivered as per recommendation NWR-BR-1, this could provide an excellent link over to the west of the river, while also linking to the Albert Basin redevelopment."

The Quays Greenway

The proposed Quays Greenway courtesy of Google Maps.



A linear strip of unused greenspace mostly trees runs for 500M parallel to Glen Hill between Dublin Road (outside the Quays shopping centre) and Doran’s Hill.  The report explains "Opening this space up as a short community greenway would provide a useful walking and cycling route. This would also create a new community greenspace, while design could incorporate ecological enhancements."

SEGREGATED CYCLE PATHS

The Masterplan suggests quite a few segregated cycle paths throughout Newry with just three of them mentioned below.

Abbey Way - Introduce a bi-directional segregated cycle track along Abbey Way, Upper Water Street, and Trevor Hill (Between William Street Bridge and Newry Courthouse)

Armagh Road - The Armagh Road/A27 links Newry City Centre in the South to the Damolly retail park in the north, a key trip generator. Residential properties front onto the Armagh road for much of its extent and it is somewhat different in character than other A-Roads leading into Newry. Advisory cycle lanes have been implemented north of Barrack Street, while a couple of signalised pedestrian crossings are also in place. The road narrows as it enters Newry city centre, so providing segregated cycle facilities may not be possible south of Barrack Street.

Merchants Quay/ Buttercrane Quay - Introduce bi-directional segregated cycle track on Merchants Quay and Buttercrane Quay

LOW TRAFFIC NEIGHBOURHOODS

The report also suggests many areas of Newry which could be designated as low traffic neighbourhoods that would help improve pedestrian and cyclist connectivity.

Hill Street Neighbourhood

"The area contains many shops, restaurants and cafes as well as historic features such as the Newry Cathedral. A traffic reduction and urban realm scheme has already been introduced in this area, with one-way streets and widened footways implemented successfully. Removing through traffic here, particularly along The Mall would provide improved connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists and a more pleasant and safe experience for business customers. The LTN should extend from the Newry River in the west (including the Mall) to Abbey Way in the east. And from William Street in the south to the Upper Water Street/Sugar Island junction in the north"

Edward Street Neighbourhood

Monaghan Street just one of Newry's main streets that has no safe cycling infrastructure. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Monaghan Street just one of Newry's main streets that has no safe cycling infrastructure. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

"This is a small neighbourhood to the north west of the city centre. Implementing an LTN here would provide safe cycling and walking connectivity from Newry city centre to the Newry Leisure Centre, Our Lady Grammar School and Daisy Hill Hospital."

CYCLING AND WALKING BRIDGES

Balybot Bridge (Mill Street Bridge)

The report points out that within a 1km stretch of Newry City Centre there are five bridges open to general traffic crossing the Clanyre River and Newry Canal. "We propose transforming one of these into a people friendly bridge, open to pedestrians, cyclists and buses. The Balybot Bridge (Mill Street Bridge) seems the most appropriate for this. The narrowest and most central bridge, Balybot Bridge is also the location of a number of businesses on its eastern extent. It also links the Hill Street area in the east to the large shopping centres in the west. Removing general traffic would also unlock the potential for the bridge as a public space. Urban realm features such as parklets, seating, greenery and public art could also be implemented. Bus access would need to be preserved while Newry Bus Centre is situated in its current location."

Albert Basin Bridge

Deliver a new Albert Basin Cycling and Walking bridge spanning the Clanrye River that links to the southern tip of the Albert Basin redevelopment and could link into a proposed new local greenway on the Greenbank Trail.

Other suggestions include School Streets, junction improvements, more pedestrian crossings and cycle parking.

A Living Document

SDLP Slieve Gullion Councillor Pete Byrne also welcomed the document but voiced his concerns that it doesn’t go far enough for the people of South Armagh. Cllr Byrne proposed that the Masterplan become a living document that would allow the inclusion of significant infrastructure projects like the Monaghan Way/Lough Ross Greenway and a footpath connection between Culloville, Crossmaglen and Poet’s Glen, Creggan. 

Byrne said: “This is an extremely important document for the future of active travel in this district and its ratification falls on the day world leaders meet in Scotland to decide upon the future of this planet. I welcome all that is in the document and of course I’m particularly interested in the proposals for South Armagh and my hometown of Crossmaglen. Whilst I welcome the proposed upgrades within Crossmaglen which will make moving around the town a lot safer, I do feel this document missed the point of active travel and what it means for rural communities.”

Cllr Pete Byrne

“Active travel has been a priority for the SDLP which is why we have set aside £20 million through a Blue/Green Fund for projects that are actually missing from this document. The upgrade of the Newry Road and the provision of footpaths between Creggan, Crossmaglen and Culloville isn’t a new idea, in fact it is a proposal set out in the Councils Village Plan which has yet to be realised. Well used walking routes such as Crossmaglen-Lissaraw and Crossmaglen-Poets Glen must be linked up with safe footpaths if we are to properly encourage active travel in our rural area. Although this masterplan is missing a localised consultation, the majority of the respondents to a study commissioned by the Crossmaglen Chamber of Commerce in 2012 called for improved connections between these three areas. The Monaghan Way/Lough Ross Greenway is also missing which would provide for a long-distance community connection.

“In some ways, the 2012 village plan masterplan is more ambitious, the footpaths in South Armagh don’t go far enough and neither does this document. My hope that this masterplan will become a living document which can be amended as things change over the next decade. This document needs to be more than just an aspiration exercise, these projects need to be realised if we are to play our part in tackling the climate crisis and truly connecting rural communities.”

Download the Masterplan and Recommendations below

Active Travel Masterplan 2021

Active Travel Masterplan 2021 - Recommendation Table

* British Heart Foundation Physical Activity Report 2017
** The Miracle Pill, Walker.P 2021
*** Duranton and Turner, 2019
**** Cairns, Atkins and Goodwin, 2001

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Michael · 2 months ago
    As a part of the mountain bike community I would strongly suggest a bike park , pump track or bmx race track For our up and coming mtb\bmx super stars things like these is what Newry is missing 

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