Transport Minister Michelle McIlveen announced the opening of the first of three £700,000 bicycle routes in Belfast.
The scheme linking Alfred Street from Ormeau Avenue to Chichester Street will be open in time for Easter.
Minister McIlveen said: “This continuous route is of a high quality and provides greater protection for everyone using the bicycle to make journeys across the city.
“Work is also imminent on the remaining two schemes which when completed will link the shared foot and cycle way from Broadway to Castle Street.”
The routes have been designed to encourage more people to think about getting about by bicycle. They are continuous routes including measures such as protected two way cycle tracks, bicycle signals and a bicycle friendly street.
Designs for another two schemes, which will link the east of the city to the city centre, are still being considered taking account of comments from information days held as part of the consultation process.
When complete the five schemes proposed will form a continuous 2.5kilometres route between the Westlink shared footway and cycleway and Titanic Quarter Station which leads to the Ballymacarrett Walkway and the Comber Greenway. Details of bicycle routes can be found at https://www.drdni.gov.uk/publications/bicycle-routes-belfast-proposed-scheme-routes
These routes will form part of the draft Belfast Bicycle Network Plan which will be consulted upon in the coming months. The Network Plan will guide the development of bicycle routes throughout the city over the next 10 years.
The Minister added: “Work is also continuing on a Strategic Plan for Greenways for Northern Ireland. This plan will provide a framework to assist councils and other bodies to develop their own local schemes as part of a Greenway Network for the entire region and I look forward to receiving the draft before the end of April this year.”