Will Galway transport strategy impact on house prices?

Research on property prices in Dublin has shown that buyers are willing to pay a premium to live close to public transport, with houses located close to light rail links achieving premiums of over €120,000 above standard prices for similar properties.

This research shows buyers are paying over 30% more for properties located within one kilometre of Luas and Dart links.There is much discussion about Galway’s traffic problems, but the advantages of living close to good public transport, and the consequent impact on property prices, has not been fully quantified locally.

Of course, there are many factors which impact on property prices, but living close to a good bus service, or a train station, is a distinct advantage for most people, and likely to become even more important in the coming years. The average price for a property in Co. Galway in 2022 was €259,000. It is unlikely the differential would be as high as the 30% plus recorded in Dublin, but at even one third this figure, it would suggest the average county Galway purchaser is prepared to pay close to €26,000 to live close to a train station.

This is good news for home owners who live east of Galway city, particularly in the Oranmore and Athenry areas. Of course, the frequency of the local train service is only a fraction of that in Dublin, but as the increasingly crowded carriages on the Oranmore-Galway train testify, demand for this service is on a steep upward curve. The further one goes from Galway city, the less of an impact this has.

Future Plans

In general, when people buy homes, they intend to live there for the medium to long term, usually well in excess of 15 years. Therefore they plan ahead, and planning for travel, to and from work, is an increasing part of the home buying decision. This is even part of the planning decision for those who work from home, as not having access to convenient transport is no longer a factor in their decision making process.

One of the difficulties when planning where to live in Galway is the uncertainty over how deliverable future transport policy will prove. Galway City Council & Galway County Council, in partnership with the National Transport Authority, have developed the Galway Transport Strategy (GTS ), an Integrated Transport Strategy for Galway City & Environs.

The GTS sets out a series of actions and measures, covering infrastructural, operational and policy elements to be implemented in Galway over the next 20 years and sets out a framework to deliver the projects in a phased manner.

Galway has a transport problem, due to its reliance on the private car, which has been influenced by the existing public transport network, limited cycling facilities, a large rural hinterland and being the key gateway in and out of Connemara.

Combined with this, it has a road and street network which is ill-suited to the high traffic flows currently prevalent, and this is contributing to increased congestion and delay, affecting quality of life and impacting on the functionality of the City.

To address this, a fundamental shift is needed towards sustainable travel, reducing the dependency on the private car and taking action to make Galway more accessible and connected, enhancing quality of life within the City for all.To address these problems, Galway City Council's strategic objectives for transport are:

· to promote and encourage sustainable transport · to manage the traffic in a way which maximises mobility and safe movement · to maintain and develop/upgrade Infrastructure

Oranmore train station

The redevelopment of Oranmore train station will include the addition of a second platform and a 1km section of double-track, or loop, that will increase the capacity of the commuter line between Athenry and Galway. Elevators will also be installed to make it accessible to all. Landscaping works will also be carried out, as well as design work in the carpark of the station. It is expected the redeveloped station will be operational from mid 2024.

Ring road confusion

As reported in February 2023:

The proposed Galway Ring Road cannot go ahead despite the plans getting a second look by An Bord Pleanála, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has said.

The project is to be returned to An Bord Pleanála for fresh consideration and Galway city and county councils have said they are confident it will be approved again.

However Mr Ryan, who is also Environment Minister, said the plan could not proceed.

“It vital that all our transport plans deliver the 50pc reduction in emissions we need this decade and go net zero in three [decades],” he said.

“The National Transport Authority, the local authority and our department are going to have to look at a new transport strategy for Galway that meets that climate target.

“So the plans for Galway are going to have to change. The exact elements of that, the combination of new public transport and other infrastructure, will be the outcome of that process.

“But the existing plans, the existing way of doing things is not going to progress. You have to heed what the law says – you put climate at the centre of everything we do”, according to Minister Ryan

In the same week: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that he remains a supporter of the N6 Galway Ring Road project, which is now being reconsidered by An Bord Pleanála.The Taoiseach said that he continues to support the construction of the bypass in response to a question by Galway East TD Ciaran Cannon on public transport options for the city.“I remain a supporter of the bypass but, obviously, that is a matter for An Bord Pleanála to decide on,” Leo Varadkar said during the exchange

Is it any wonder the public are confused, but whatever the outcome of the An Bord Pleanála decision, informed sources say there is very little chance of a car appearing on Galway’s new ring road before 2030.


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