Councillors insist people want sustainable transport solutions for Galway's traffic problems

Councillors at this week's City Council meeting agreed the people of Galway are in favour of sustainable transport solutions as opposed to the suggested inner city bypass, but could not agree on what form such solutions should take.

Councillor Catherine Connolly said: "People clearly do not want more roads in Galway. They want sustainable transport solutions. I think light rail could be the answer, and it is time to go to somewhere like France to see what can be done." 

Sinn Fein's Cathal O'Conchuir disagreed with Connolly, claiming a light rail system would be too expensive to install in the city. He said this would result in tickets being too expensive for the public, and called for planners to look into the possibility of building a new bridge over the Corrib. 

Councillor Declan McDonell concurred with O'Conchuir, stating that a bridge over the Corrib is something that should have happened 20 years ago: "We have serious traffic problems in Galway city. The imposition of lights instead of roundabouts improved things, but problems remain. The main issue is finance. We are hearing a lot of great ideas here today but we do not have the funding to back them up."

McDonell also touched on the issue of Lough Atalia Road: "For 13 weeks we had a one way system operating in Lough Atalia. Was it the right decision to reverse the system? The question at the time was, is it right for the residents or for the city, and for me it should have been the city."

McDonell said he was exhausted by talk of a park and ride system and questioned whether or not the Government will back Galway with funding to alleviate the traffic problem in the city once and for all.

Councillor Billy Cameron agreed with much of what McDonell had to say: "The good of the city is not being prioritised at the moment. There has been a lot of pandering to minority opinion instead of acting for the good of the entire city." 

Councillor Mike Cubbard said it was "absolutely mad" that there are still no buses travelling across the Quincentennial Bridge. He added that he had heard the mention of a park and ride system but always in relation to the east of the city, and asked whether something of the kind could work for the west. 

The County Council and consultants ARUP acknowledge that some 41 homes will be knocked, a further 10 houses affected, and 300 land and property owners impacted if work on the preferred route of the inner bypass goes ahead.

Opposition to the route is gaining momentum, according to the Galway N6 Action Group. The group has questioned why alternatives solutions have not been further looked into, including a bus service crossing the Quincentenary Bridge from Knocknacarra and Salthill to Parkmore.

The group said: “There is a growing sense that this process is disrespectful to homeowners. They feel they are being rushed through a process, where ARUP’s deadlines are more important than the needs and rights of residents to be presented with a comprehensive package of reasons outlining why this inner bypass is the only solution to Galway’s traffic problems."

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