Constructing a pedestrian bridge parallel to the Salmon Weir Bridge will not, of itself, make Galway a pedestrian friendly city, especially when the plans for the proposed new bridge have "severe limitations".
This is the view of the Green Party's Galway City West candidate, Pauline O'Reilly, who is critical of the proposed bridge, plans for which were unveiled at Monday's City Council meeting.
The new bridge will cost more than €7 million and is due to be completed by 2021. It will be located on the south side of the existing Salmon Weir Bridge, linking Newtownsmyth/St Vincent’s Avenue with Gaol Road around Galway Cathedral.
At the meeting, city council senior engineer, Uinsinn Finn told councillors that the design report, topographical survey, public consultation process, environmental impact study, and planning documentation would be completed during the course of 2019, while the procurement and contract documents would be signed in 2020.
Ms O'Reilly [pictured above] said "more thought was required" on the design of the bridge as "the current plans have severe limitations", pointing out how the pedestrian bridge was one way, while only "one of the footpaths on the original bridge would be retained". She said: "The advantage to pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users is therefore questionable." She was also critical of the lack of the absence of a cycle path in the plans.
"We need real access for pedestrians and those with disabilities throughout the city not simply one pedestrian bridge," said Ms O'Reilly. She is calling on the Galway City Council to undertake a scheme of repairs on the city's footpaths; to enforce road traffic laws and ensure parking on footpaths is heavily penalised. She is also calling for public transport bridges, a city-wide approach to pedestrian and disability access, and for buses to "traverse the city rather than go through Eyre Square".