Election Cycle 2016 – Belfast South
At the start of April 2016 the President of Cycling UK (and Channel 4 News presenter) Jon Snow contacted all Northern Ireland Assembly Election candidates to ask for their support in three simple policy asks around cycling investment, building a greenway network and delivering an Active Travel Act.
The responses received so far from candidates standing in Belfast South are listed below. You can also click on each name to contact your local candidates through Twitter or Facebook to ask them to respond if they haven’t already. (Some social media contacts details are not available for some candidates.)
|Comments: “As an ardent cyclist myself, I can happily say YES to all three. I grew up in Germany, where a large number of the population cycles to work, to school, to do messages and for recreation. You are never far away from a bicycle. Therefore, when I came to Belfast, one of the first things I bought was a second-hand bike which was quite an ancient boneshaker.
“Since I don’t drive, I rely on public transport and my bicycle to get me to places – and very often cycling is quicker. I enjoy cycling, and there is nothing like hopping on the bike on a lovely spring day.
“I am glad to see that there are more cycling lanes in Belfast now, but definitely not enough. I live between two very busy roads, and I avoid cycling on either, because I find it too dangerous.
“I used to volunteer for NI Sustrans years ago, planted some trees on the Comber Greenway and also went on some cycling trips to Castle Espie. Therefore I know first-hand how enjoyable cycling on greenways can be, and how good it is to get on your bike, out of the city and into the countryside.
“If elected to the Assembly, I may not always be able to cycle from South Belfast to Stormont, but I would love to buy a folding bike to do at least part of the journey on a regular basis.”
|Comments: “The Green Party NI fully endorse these policy calls.
|Comments: “Duncan Morrow responded on both our behalves – one team! To be fair, though, he is only one who canvasses by bike too!” [Duncan’s response below.]|
|Comments: “I’m happy to confirm that we fully support your three asks. The lack of investment in facilities and routes for cyclists here is disgraceful. We want to encourage people to get out and enjoy our green spaces and keep fit and this would be an excellent way to do that.”|
|William Dickson||South Belfast Unionists||YES||YES||YES|
|Comments: “Fully support your view linked with walking paths, public seats and toilets.”|
|Comments: “I would like to pledge my support for Sustrans and Northern Ireland Greenways. I am supportive of the need for investment and legislation that promotes cycling throughout Northern Ireland. Cycling is not only good for health but it is positive for our economy, I would like to see extension and improvement of cycling infrastructure throughout Belfast.
“The Belfast Bike Scheme has been a success from the start and I am keen to see this rolled out further across Belfast. There are high levels of congestion throughout Belfast with Ormeau Road being named the slowest road in Northern Ireland, we need to move towards more sustainable transport and encourage people to get on their bikes.
“The SDLP is also very supportive of Greenway development as we believe that it will help build sustainable tourism such as walking, cycling and geotourism.“
|Comments: “At 62, I am a fair weather cyclist these days, but I am aware of the health benefits and would support all of your proposals in principle.”|
|Lily Kerr||Workers Party||YES||YES||YES|
|Comments: “Many thanks for getting in touch and good luck with this campaign!
“We are delighted to be able to support the three initiatives you propose and agree that their full implementation can make a significant difference to health, the environment and the economy.
“As Workers Party candidates we are fully committed to a safer, healthier environment, a healthier population and to alternative forms of travel and leisure opportunities.
“The ‘Investment, Greenways and Legislation’ strategy will require not just the commitment of individual candidates but inclusion in the next Programme for Government and a public commitment to joined up implementation across a number of Executive departments and a robust and innovative approach to funding and development
“We are happy to give a commitment that we would work towards those ends.”
|Emma Little Pengelly||DUP||YES||YES||YES|
|Comments: “In our manifesto the DUP has committed to developing a Greenway Network across Northern Ireland that provides traffic-free space for walkers and cyclists for both leisure and commuting. These proposals will be an opportunity for partnership work between the new Department of Infrastructure and the 11 new Councils.
“Obviously the development of any such network will require significant investment, we have not set a specific spending target. The promotion of cycling however also fits with our commitment to promote public health and to encourage active and healthy aging. Investment in activities such as cycling can help reduce the amount spent on tackling issues such as obesity.
“Within the manifesto there is not a specific commitment to legislation on the issue, but we would certainly be happy to examine proposals were they to come forward.”
|Comments: “Over the past week I have been doing research into the topic as I know a number of people who are or have worked with the council with regards to cycling innovation.
“In short my answers are
“2 and 3 are specific Conservative party policies and I am happy to campaign for them.
“I’d like to thank bikefast.org for campaigning and keeping the project in the limelight otherwise council and government will again squander and waste the budget that could be spent on these initiatives.
“The Belfast to Lisburn , Belfast to Jordanstown and Belfast to Comber greenways have proven this strategy a success as a commute for some or a place to enjoy and exercise for others, therefore the use of abandoned railway lines and canal paths across the country have great potential.
“With the Giro Legacy that we have not capitalised on. there is also tourist potential were cycle holidays would attract cycling tourists to ride across this network
“Another criticism I have been made aware of is that children have not been considered in any way to make cycling more attractive to them. I would like to see more campaigning into getting children cycling, this should be considered more as, I feel if people are introduced to bike culture earlier then the lifestyle and love of cycling will stay with them, and then in turn with their children.
“I personally don’t own a car and rely on the metro system and have made use of the Belfast bikes which have been a fantastic introduction to Belfast.”
|Comments: “The strategy was conceived, developed and published whilst I was a Special Adviser in the responsible department and in many ways it is my strategy so it would be rather odd if I didn’t enthusiastically support it and that means with growth in investment too therefore I am a very obvious yes to all three.”|
|Comments: “I will support and champion this. I look forward to future co-operation.”|
|Máirtín Ó Muilleoir||Sinn Féin||YES||YES||YES|
|Comments: “Thanks for all you do to make Belfast a modern, cycle-friendly, citizen-engaged home for all of us. Count me in for all. But the ‘national’ cycleways aren’t bold enough. 200 years ago, they created a truly national highway of canals, our bike strategy should be just as bold and run from Malin Head to Mizen Head (with points in-between). Keep the faith. Great work went into the manifesto and you’re right, it needs champions and investment.”|
|Comments: “I support investment. I don’t drive myself and rely on public transport. If the Belfast bike scheme was expanded then I would definitely use it as an alternative.South Belfast can be heavily congested at times. Not only is it a cheaper method of travel but it also encourages exercise. We need to invest in cycle routes / facilities (paths/toilets etc) in order to encourage users. I would be happy to be engaged with on funding and development options.
I support the development of Greenways. The Comber Greenway is a place that I enjoy bringing my young daughter as she learns to cycle. The tranquility of the traffic-free area is a great resource on my doorstep and I would recommend everyone who can access it to visit. There has been an increase in the number of cycle lanes in Belfast, but I feel that in certain areas they are not used to their full potential, and more should be provided to provide free flowing cycling and improve user safety.
I support Legislation. To promote healthier lifestyles and improve on the usage of public transport we must consider ways to encourage the opportunity to not use a car.
|Comments: “I am fully supportive of all initiatives to promote cycling. Over the years I have been involved in a number of local projects to promote cycling especially with young people. One of the main issues that need tackled is the sanction against people who park in cycle lanes. I see it every day where cyclists have to come out of the lanes because of parked cars. Why install cycle lanes and then block them up with parked cars.”|
CCLA – Cross-Community Labour Alternative
DUP – Democratic Unionist Party
NILRC – Northern Ireland Labour Representation Committee
PUP – Progressive Unionist Party
SDLP – Social Democratic and Labour Party
TUV – Traditional Unionist Voice
UKIP – United Kingdom Independence Party
UUP – Ulster Unionist Party
If you’re a candidate and would like to share your views on our questions to make Northern Ireland a better place for cycling, then we want to hear from you. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll update this page as soon as possible.
Election Cycle 2016 is a joint effort by the good people at: