Sir, – I was pleased to see The Irish Times publish a special report on sustainable transport (September 22nd), but sadly walking and cycling were barely mentioned, and much of the focus was on cars, on World Car Free Day, no less!
Replacing a million petrol or diesel-powered cars with electric cars will not solve the climate crisis. In addition, we should ensure that active travel in the form of walking and cycling is better facilitated, and that we expand and promote public transport. Such modal shifts can make a real difference in reducing emissions. One article even floated the absurd suggestion of powering small cars with hydrogen, rather than using it where it is needed most: in long-distance heavy-duty vehicles where electromobility is not feasible.
This week a global conference on walking took place in Dublin. At that Walk 21 conference, speakers from around the world communicated the benefits of walking: from clean air, to reducing greenhouse emissions and allowing us to live longer lives. However, we don’t have to look far to see what people-first planning can achieve – there are stellar examples across Europe. Better pedestrian facilities can improve the livability of our communities, and keep us healthy.
Of course many are dependent on cars for their travel needs, but more attention needs to be given to the benefits of improving our walking and cycling infrastructure, as well as public transport, in future discussions of sustainable transport planning. – Yours, etc,
Green Party MEP for Dublin,