I would like to register my disgust with the current traffic situation in Galway City, and I would like to know what Galway City Council is doing about it ? I am aware of the existence of a “Galway Transport Strategy”, however, that is going to take years to implement, potentially at considerable cost, and I am firmly of the opinion that the people of Galway want answers to the issue now, not 10 or 15 years down the line.
I believe that our local, elected representatives are not giving this issue the attention that it deserves. I believe that this is one of the most important issue afflicting the people of Galway at the moment and furthermore, I believe that the residents of Galway have lost faith in the Council’s ability to solve it. It took me 45 minutes to travel from one side of the Liosban Estate to the other on a couple of Fridays in recent times, a distance of less than 1 km.
I would expect that in a large city like London, not in a place like Galway. And try driving from Sean Mulvoy Road to the Monivea Road (opposite the Huntsman ) any evening. Forget it. Traffic is at a complete standstill. It is gone beyond a joke at this stage. I am confident that there are some solutions that could be implemented very quickly to alleviate this unacceptable situation, however, I do not think that the current crop of City Councillors have the bottle to implement them.
At the very least, I think that some short-term measures should be “trialed” for a period of time and ruled either in or out depending on their effectiveness. A few ideas come to my mind that may well be worth trying, and they are as follows:
Car Sharing/Car Pooling:
Most of the traffic congestion seems to be happening early in the morning and in the early evening, when people are driving to and from work/school. I cannot understand why there has not been an attempt by the powers that be to gather representatives of all of the big employers in Galway together in one room, and promote a car-sharing/car-pooling scheme to them? Most of the cars that I see on my way to work in the morning are occupied by one individual (my car included ), and a car pooling scheme could conceivably keep a considerable number of these cars out of the city.
Given the number of cars entering Galway at the moment, there must be some merit in trying to convince people to leave their cars at home. A carrot and stick approach would be better in the long-term, however, in the short-term, consideration could be given to some sort of a “congestion charge”, the likes of which is used in cities like London in the UK. Particularly for those who reside in the town, we should be encouraging them not to use their cars.
Adjust The Time On Traffic Lights Or Switch Them Off Altogether:
I was at the traffic lights at the bottom of Sean Mulvoy road several times recently, heading towards the Quincentennial bridge and the lights let about five cars through. I don’t know why each set of lights isn’t given a fair amount of time, say 1 minute each to allow a reasonable amount of cars through. Knowing that one would get though the lights within a certain timeframe would certainly help to relieve the frustration suffered by a driver stuck in such circumstances. Alternatively, switch the lights off altogether. I believe that such action has been trialed in cities in the UK and has been considered a success. I cannot see why the same thing isn’t tried here for a few days. It could be advertised and road users encouraged to give their feedback.
Prohibit Any More Cars In Galway
A temporary moratorium on car sales could be introduced in Galway city. Or better still, if a new car comes on the road, a car has to be taken off in its place. A local “scrappage scheme” if you like. Allowing more cars on to roads that already have too much traffic is plain crazy. It would take “bottle” to implement this, but with a little gumption and creativity, it could be done. I really believe that if people understand the intent behind implementing something such as this, they would get on board.
Park And Ride:
This has been used in the run-up to Christmas for several years, and I don’t know why it isn’t being considered on a more regular basis. If we set up such facilities at the four or five main arteries into Galway, we could considerably reduce the amount of cars coming into the city. Again, if this was widely advertised and encouraged, people would get on board. A small increase could be made to motor tax to pay towards the park and ride facility.
I am sure that there are many other ideas that could be implemented on a trial basis that would help alleviate what is fast becoming a dangerous and unhealthy environment for our citizens. If I could come up with five ideas in the few minutes that I have sat in front of my computer writing this email, then surely the more “educated” employees of Galway City Council and elsewhere could do even better?
It is crystal clear at this stage that something drastic needs to be done. The city council owes it to the people that pay their considerable salaries to deal with this problem, not in 10 years time, but NOW! This crisis situation is not going to get better by everyone standing back and doing nothing.
We need to take the proverbial bull by the horns to fix this. And if those in high office can’t deal with it, then perhaps, they need to consider stepping aside and make way for those who can.
Michael A Madden,