When Comber Greenway first opened in 2008 it was heralded as a great breakthrough for Belfast.
Here was seven miles of pathway, away from traffic, freely available for walkers, joggers and cyclists.
A direct line into the city centre, from the suburbs of Comber, through east Belfast to Dee Street.
As with anything else in the world, time takes its toll. The Greenway is in need of a facelift. And above all, ways of making it feel a much safer place need to be found.
That money is to be spent on a trial of new lighting from the Beersbridge Road to Billy Neill Halt, and will be welcomed by those who wish to use it.
Once daylight fails, it doesn’t feel a safe place to be, and people need to feel safe, to be able to see where they’re going.
The last thing Belfast needs is to provide dark corners as gathering points for those who seek to engage in anti-social behaviour.
Consideration will be given in two years’ time to extending lighting to the whole Greenway route, something a majority of 58% agreed with out of the three options presented in the consultation period last year.
It’s probably the right decision, and it will give time for the Department to access the concerns of those who live along the route who raised issues over light pollution in homes they bought before the Greenway existed, and those who believe the natural habitat of animals who live along the path will be impacted.
The Department for Infrastructure and Belfast City Council need to be thinking bigger than just Comber Greenway when it comes to improving the look and, importantly, the safety of the city.
Before the pandemic, visitor numbers were increasing. If Belfast wants to regain that momentum it needs to make itself more attractive, safer and appealing to those who visit.
We want them to come back and enjoy the best of what the city has to offer.
There will always be those intent on anti-social behaviour.
Let's not make it any easier for them.
If we’re serious about cutting down on city centre traffic, then making alternative routes attractive for those who wish to use them is a start.
And if we present an attractive, well lit, friendly environment, and Belfast starts showing it respects itself, perhaps more respect will be earned in return.
The future can be a brighter place if there’s a will to make it that way.