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Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon unveils details of new Belfast pop-up cycle lanes

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The cycle lanes are part of a range of "active travel" initiatives being introduced across NI (Aaron Chown/PA)

The cycle lanes are part of a range of "active travel" initiatives being introduced across NI (Aaron Chown/PA)

PA

The cycle lanes are part of a range of "active travel" initiatives being introduced across NI (Aaron Chown/PA)

Details of new pop-up cycle lanes for Belfast have been unveiled by Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon.

The move comes as UK Bike Week 2020 begins, an annual celebration to showcase cycling, and is part of a range of "active travel" initiatives being introduced across Northern Ireland.

A pilot scheme to widen footpaths and pedestrianise streets in Belfast has already began, with further measures to be introduced in the coming months.

The pop-up cycle lanes will be put in place on the Dublin Road and the Grosvenor Road over the next two weeks, while improvements will be made to cycle lanes on the Crumlin Road and Oldpark Road.

Nichola Mallon said the aim of the cycle lanes is to improve access to the city centre and help key workers cycle to and from work, in particular those who work in hospitals.

"The Covid crisis has brought unprecedented challenges and has fundamentally changed the way we live. However, there is no doubt that it has also created an opportunity for us all to take a closer look at how we travel and consider how we can do things better moving forward," she added.

“I am committed to working towards reimagining and reshaping our spaces to accommodate cycling, walking and active travel as part of an ambitious Executive recovery plan. This is a real opportunity to build a better future that delivers more for our citizens, socially and economically, delivering cleaner, greener and healthier communities. We must seize it."

Ms Mallon said the cycle lanes will be put in place on a trial basis and improvements will be made in the coming weeks.

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, councillor Frank McCoubrey, said connecting communities to the city centre is key to Belfast City Council and the Department for Infrastructures "joint vision" for the city.

"Improving the cycling infrastructure will make it easier for people to opt for sustainable modes of transport thereby helping to tackle things like climate change, improve air quality, and improve the health and wellbeing of those in our city – all things which make for a more sustainable, resilient future," he said.

SDLP councillor for the Botanic area, Gary McKeown, described the news as a "fantastic development".

"We have the opportunity to transform our city and how we think of it, and steps like this to link up key routes in a safer, cycle-friendly can be transformative," he said.

"The current pandemic has forced us all to re-evaluate how we do things, but it is allowing for some creative thinking around how we can rebuild in a greener, more sustainable way."

Belfast Telegraph