City needs bus lane, and park and ride service for Parkmore

Less than one per cent living in rural areas travel to work by bus

General manager of Galway Chamber of Commerce Maeve Joyce.

General manager of Galway Chamber of Commerce Maeve Joyce.

A major Traffic and Travel Trends Survey investigating traffic congestion on the east side of the city has recommended that a bus lane be introduced in Parkmore to enable the speedier movement of traffic into the area in the morning and exiting in the afternoon. It also found that there was scope for additional bus routes on the east side of the city to the business parks.

The survey, which was carried out by Galway Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the department of civil engineering at NUI Galway, also found there is a significant opportunity for a park and ride service from a suitable location on the eastern edge of the city and going directly to Parkmore. This would benefit the more than 2,500 people who work in Parkmore and who live in rural east Galway. A fast travel time with a priority route (bus lane ) would be critical to its success.

Unsurprisingly it was found that there was a very high dependence on the car among workers, with 77.9 per cent of people driving to work, 10.5 per cent taking the bus, four per cent cycling and 2.9 per cent walking. Less than one per cent of people living in rural areas travel to work in the city by bus.

A number of other recommendations were made, including that more must be done to facilitate, promote and encourage sustainable forms of transport. It also suggested that work should be carried out with the employer organisations to develop a travel behaviour change campaign within each of the business parks which is focused on: the promotion of public transport, walking and cycling to work, facilitating sustainable modes with the provision of showers, lockers, bike parking etc, and greater promotion of car-pooling including incentives.

Another proposal is for employers to give the opportunity of greater staggering of start and finish times in the workplace to help to spread the traffic load over a longer time thus reducing congestion.

Speaking to the Galway Advertiser about the results of the survey, Galway Chamber general manager Maeve Joyce says she hopes the findings will be taken on board by city planners. "I am very happy with the depth of the survey. We got a total of 2,125 replies from workers at the business parks so these are very real results. It has to feed into the thinking of planners. The results have been submitted to the council and we would hope they would be used by planners."

The survey represents the continued efforts of Galway Chamber to investigate and address the issue of traffic congestion in the city recognising the negative impact that this congestion can have on economic growth in the region. Maeve Joyce says the Chamber exists to ensure Galway becomes a better place to do business. "Obviously traffic is an issue that is constantly discussed. It is no secret that we would support an outer ring road. We have not said it is a solution to our traffic woes, but we do believe taking traffic out of the city centre would help the situation. Our work is ongoing in this area, our traffic and transport action committee meet regularly and we will contine to work with NUIGs civil engineering department."

Professor Padraic O’Donoghue of NUI Galway says Galway has a particular challenge with people working in one area and living in another, which is both an urban and a rural issue. "There is a need for a long-term strategy to provide places of employment closer to centres of population. With regard to implementation of recommendations, it will require the various stakeholders to act on proposals as part of an action plan."

The complete survey results are available on www.galwaychamber.com

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