The pedestrianisation of Eglinton Street must be seriously considered as it would extend the main shopping area of the city centre, making it more accessible for shoppers.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil councillor Michael J Crowe who wants to see further pedestrianisation of the city centre as part of Galway’s bid for the National Smarter Travel Areas Competition.
His call follows the news that a joint Galway city and county council application for €25 million under the National Smarter Travel Areas Competition has been shortlisted to proceed to the final stage of the competition.
The local authority’s bid is an ambitious plan which seeks to increase cycling, walking, and public transport in the Galway Metropolitan Area of Galway city, Oranmore, Barna, and Claregalway.
Key elements of the stage one application included: extension of the pedestrian area in Galway city centre by 7,500 sq metres; 15km of new bus corridors; development of a new transport hub in Garraun, Oranmore; reduction in speed limits to 30kph in key city centre areas; prioritisation of workplace planning; development of two new bike training parks; and new driver and cyclist education programmes.
Cllr Crowe said he would like to see an extension of pedestrianisation as the city centre “needs a lift and we should be making it more access friendly”.
He said it would “be of enormous benefit” to shoppers and retailers “who need a helping hand during these difficult times”.
“Retailers play a big part in our economy,” he said. “It is my view that serious consideration should be given to pedestrianising Eglinton Street. It would in effect be an extension of the main shopping area of our city and I will be pushing hard for this.”
As part of the second stage of this national competition, shortlisted areas must develop a full business case and implementation plan for the proposals it presented in stage one of the competition.
The deadline for this stage is April 30 2010 and there is total funding of €55 million over five years to be granted. The other shortlisted areas are Cork city, Drimnagh (Dublin city ), Dundalk, Dungarvan, Kilkenny, Limerick city and county (Castletroy ), Loughrea, Navan, Sandyford (Dublin ), and Westport.
The news of the Galway bid’s progress to stage two has been welcomed by Joe Tansey, head of the Galway Transportation Unit.
“The news to-day that our application has been shortlisted is very welcome given the strong competition for funding in the current economic climate,” said Mr Tansey. “To succeed at stage one of this national competition would not have been possible without the cooperation and assistance of the public and all our partner organisations.
“To win this competition we need to consolidate and build upon the ambition for Galway as set out in our stage one bid, harnessing all resources available. Based on the support and feedback we have received to date, I have every confidence this funding can be secured for Galway.”