Don’t let traffic strangle Galway

This morning, the city councillors convene a special meeting in City Hall to discuss the traffic problems that have been besetting the city for years, but which for some reason, other than the bus strike, seem to have escalated in recent weeks. A city the size of Galway should not be subject to the level of delay and confusion that reigns morning and evening.

Granted, traffic is one of the side effects of growth but the inconsistency of the flows in and out of Galway city are frustrating to even the most tolerant of commuters.

In an ideal world, it would be possible for us all to cycle or walk to work, but for many, that is simply not an option. The absence of any affordable light rail option also forces people into cars and buses and clogs up the roads into and out of the city.

I get a feeling that we have all been fobbed off regarding the various explanations that come our way regarding traffic. True, there is a greater volume of it now. True, there are many bad drivers who leave large gaps between themselves and the next car. True, there are many bad drivers who drive into the yellow boxes and allow junctions to snarl up.

But there have to be systems to allow for this, and these systems as they exist in Galway city do not seem to be operating on a level that allow traffic to flow at an optimum rate. We were promised smart lights some years ago, but the smart lights have shown themselves to be not smart at all, or maybe a bit too smart.

The ongoing bus strike has added to the chaos in recent weeks, but the problem with Galway traffic runs deeper than that. The populace of this region has been inconvenienced for many years during the construction of traffic systems that we were told would be the solution to all our traffic problems.

At this meeting today, it is hoped that councillors are given the full information on why the city traffic problem is in crisis. Every evening tens of thousands of commuters working in the city sigh with a heavy heart at the prospect of tackling that evening rush home. And every evening, brings a dfferent problem. The road that is freeflowing one evening is a jungle the next. And vice versa.

It is a problem that affects many employers as well. Apart from people being late for work in the morning, it is not conducive to good productivity if you are spending your last hour at work stressed about whether or not you will make it time for a childminder or some other appointment.

The fear is that if the problem is not tackled, then the prospect of Galway’s growth may be hindered at a time when much opportunity may be coming our way. It is up to the city council and the various bodies to make sure we get Galway flowing again and growing again.

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