Active Travel Towns

Have you ever wondered where all those cars are going to, when you watch the traffic crawling through town and clogging up the streets?

Well, research shows that the vast majority of them are on journeys of under 5 miles!

Think about it: there are over 1,000 children under the age of 12 at school in Monaghan town: that’s a lot of dropping-off and picking-up every day if everyone comes to school by car.

And then there’s the people working in the town – there are over 300 people working in the County and Town Councils alone! Add to this all the people working in the shops, hotels, restaurants and bars….. that’s a lot of journeys.

The Census 2011 says:

  • 36,262  people in Co Monaghan over the age of 5 commute to either school or work every day
  • 3,843    do so on foot
  • 150       cycle
  • 22,171  get to school or work by car!!

14,297 people said it takes them less than 15 minutes to make that journey, meaning that they live within 5 miles of their destination.  Many of these journeys could be made by foot or bike.  This would

  • un-clog the towns
  • reduce pollution
  • make it safer – eg fewer double-parked cars outside the schools to see around, and less stressed drivers taking more care as they pass through town
  • make the towns nicer places to be

Active Travel Towns

The concept of an Active Travel Town is simple – an Active Travel Town is a town where people make as many local journeys as possible by sustainable means. The car takes second place – on the streets, outside the school gates, in our public areas – and the town is reclaimed by the people.

Of course, while the concept is simple, putting it into practice is far from it.  It would be irresponsible to ask children to walk or cycle to school if there were not safe footpaths and cycle lanes in place, for example.  So, becoming an Active Travel Town requires planning.  There’s also no point in providing loads of facilities if you can’t convince people to get out of their cars, so we’ve got to plan how to motivate and reward people for participating in the initiative.

This planning process has already begun. In 2012, Monaghan County Council was awarded funding by the Dept. to start work on making the towns of Monaghan and Castleblayney Active Travel Towns. The first step was to engage with the local businesses, communities and schools to develop Walking & Cycling Strategies for the towns. These were completed in December 2012. The Strategies identified a number of actions which should be taken to support the people of the two towns in trying to make more journeys by sustainable transport means. This website will provide information on the various initiatives as they are rolled out.

You can view the Monaghan and Blayney Strategies here.

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