Getting ready to set off on the Edible Greenway walk
Minister Michael Ring, Garda Denis Harrington and Laura Dixon, Westport Smarter Travel launch new Shared Space launch
Minister Ring Officially opening the new bike shelter at Westport Train Station
Sacred Heart School Smarter Travel team getting ready to thank smarter travel commuters for WWW
Some happy scooters and walkers receiving their Thank You stickers and flowers bouquets from SHS students for WWW
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Check out the photos from Mobility Week
EU Mobility Week, a wonderful community celebration
From September 15th – 22nd Westport Smarter Travel invited the public to celebrate European Mobility Week and to celebrate all that has been achieved by WST over the past four years. Events included the re-launch of Westport Walks Weekdays that seen members of the public that were walking or cycling to school or work receiving Thank You stickers and a small bouquet of flowers from the Sacred Heart School Smarter Travel team; the Edible Greenway walk with Leave No Trace Ireland and Edible Landscapes brought participants, including fourth class from the Quay NS on an educational walk along the Greenway learning about what food is growing on it and how we can best protect it. Westport Men’s Shed provided participants with a wonderful array of soups, breads and cakes after the mornings walk; Allergan staff were invited to learn more about road safety and Westport Smarter Travel on Thursday during their Environmental Health & Safety Week; Friday seen the addition of a new park to the town as part of Park(ing) Day. Four carparking spaces were converted to a green park outside the Town Hall. Westport Men’s Shed, Leave no Trace and WST created a comfortable and fun space for people to come and learn, laugh and if they were lucky eat cake; Saturday was host to the main celebration for the week and over 600 people came to spectate and take part. At 2pm outside Westport Town Hall the roads were closed to traffic while 300 people of all ages joined in the WST ‘I like to Move it, Move it’ flashmob. Westport Town Band and Mr. Whippy provided the music, Achilles Dance Initiative choreographed the moves and Irish TV & Michael McLaughlin studios filmed the event. After a wonderful 3 minutes of dancing well deserved refreshments were provided by Westport Smart Travel and Aunty Nellies Sweet Shop. We will be repeating the ‘I like to Move it, Move it’ dance again on October 4th as part of Westport Art’s Festival. Join us at 3.45pm at the Sacred Heart School as we join the community parade through the town and finish on the Octagon and Move it, Move it.
The week long celebrations came to a close on Tuesday 22nd, European Car – Free day. The public were encourage to pledge to leave their car at home for at least one journey during the day and in turn enter a draw to win a €50 One4All Voucher and we are delighted to announce that Lance Dutton is the winner. To finish the week on a high Westport Town Hall hosted ‘Cycling Memories, the movie’, an entertaining collection of cycling tales from Westport’s young and old to a full house.
The sense of community, celebration and pride was palpable at each event. Community groups, schools, businesses, families and individuals all came together to make the flashmob and all the WST events a success and it is that same sense of participation and pride that is driving the success of Westport Smarter Travel. It is difficult to make change and deciding to walk, cycle, park n’ stride or carpool instead of taking the car is no different. It is often easy to find excuses but Westport is overcoming the barriers and choosing active, green travel. Fresh air, exercise, chatting to the neighbours, less stress, freedom are the immediate personal benefits of choosing Smarter Travel but there are larger community benefits too such as cleaner air, safer streets, less congestion and an interactive and positive community.
Westport Smarter Travel continues to strive to remove barriers and make Westport a more pedestrian and cycle friendly town. New Shared Space signage has been erected on all approach roads to encourage road users to respect each other and to share the road. The Westport House Greenway is almost complete and will be officially opened in the coming months. Other minor and major improvements will continue to be made throughout the town from putting in place drop kerbs for easier use of footpaths and cycle paths to larger infrastructural works such as improved road crossings. 2016 is the final year of the Smarter Travel pilot program and we hope that by 2017 choosing smarter travel will be an easy choice that everyone enjoys and that towns and cities around Ireland will once again look to Westport and it’s community for leadership.
For more information on Westport Smarter Travel and to see videos of the WST Flash Mob and Cycling Memories, the Movie see www.westportsmartertravel.ie or our youtube channel.