Rapid solutions to the impasse over a temporary cycleway through Salthill are available and have wide public support, according to the Galway Urban Greenway Alliance.
A two-way cycleway on the seaward side of the Promenade, based on the Council’s own plans from 2016, could be installed quickly, cheaply and simply, with a minimum of engineering works, the Alliance’s spokesperson Seán Leonard said last evening.
“Unlike the plans for lanes on both sides of the road - recently rejected by both Councillors and the Executive after opposition from some local businesses - this option retains a lot of parking, and has, we understand, wide support amongst City Councillors and local Businesses.
“With the proven benefits of effective cycle infrastructure for health, wellbeing and the local economy, not to mention the reduction in traffic levels brought by an uptake in cycling, there is no downside,” he explained.
Mr Leonard was speaking after a community cycle on Sunday, which saw over 120 people of all ages and abilities turn out to show their support for the urgent implementation of safe, effective cycling infrastructure in the area.
In recent months, hundreds of submissions in favour of safe cycling infrastructure between the City Centre, Salthill, Knocknacarra and Barna were received as part of the Galway City Mobility Team’s COVID-19 public consultation.
“There is still time to provide the citizens of Galway – young and old - with the safe space they need and deserve to cycle for recreation and for travelling to work before schools return in September, and while the huge tourism benefits such infrastructure could bring can still be enjoyed this summer.
“Individuals and families all over Galway and the country discovered the joy of safe and fear-free cycling during the lockdown, and their numbers proved conclusively that a widespread desire to cycle exists, if safe space is provided,” he said.
'This Greenway has the potential to function as a commuter cycle route. This could be a reality in just a few short years, if the Council and local businesses support such a universally-beneficial initiative'
“Sadly, with the increase in traffic, the roads are once again a terrifying space for families and less-experienced cyclists, so they have disappeared from our streets once again. Bikes of all sizes are back in sheds all across Galway because people are afraid to use them: It does not have to be this way,” said Mr Leonard.
“Providing a safe, two-way cycleway from Claddagh to Blackrock could be the first step in developing the Barna Greenway, part of the City Council’s own Galway Transportation Strategy. This Greenway would link along the city’s canals to Dangan and Moycullen and the developing 76 km Connemara Greenway, which will stretch as far as Clifden upon completion.
“Imagine the benefits for locals and tourists alike if people could walk out of any home, hotel, shop, restaurant, café or pub in Barna, Salthill, Galway’s Westend or the Newcastle/Dangan area, and step onto one of the finest cycling routes in the world.
“Not only that, but, linking into the heart of Galway from both Barna and Moycullen, this Greenway has the potential to take thousands of cars off the roads into the city by functioning as a commuter cycle route.
“This could be a reality in just a few short years, if our local representatives, the Council Executive and local businesses show the vision and the will to support such a universally-beneficial initiative,” Mr Leonard said.