This week saw the launch of an initiative which aims to get Galway’s road users involved in a public discussion on traffic flow around the city. The programme, named ‘Galway Transport – Engage for a liveable city’, is seeking ideas and suggestions on how to improve Galway’s overburdened traffic systems.
Mary Bennett, who was granted the Freedom of the City of Galway earlier this year, officiated at the launch in the Hotel Meyrick on Monday. She congratulated all those involved in the initiative for their contributions.
“An efficient transport system is vital for the wellbeing of our citizens and to making our city an attractive location for tourism, industry and commerce,” she said at he launch. “The current traffic congestion must be addressed and I am confident that if we work together with the ‘will do, can do’ attitude of Galwegians, we will see positive results.”
Mayor of Galway Hildegarde Naughton, said all stakeholders could have an input into the initiative. “As Mayor, I am initiating and facilitating an interactive and inclusive engagement, through an advisory group and in conjunction with all stakeholders, to bring forward positive ideas on how we can work together to improve transport in Galway,” she said.
Everyone is invited to engage in the process, including residents of Galway, those who commute to work in Galway, business interests, visitors, officials and councillors of Galway City Council, other public representatives, An Garda Síochána and other relevant statutory bodies, together with private and public sector providers of transport services in the city.
There are a number of ways in which to engage with the initiative including online and offline surveys and a blog on the Galway Transport Forum website, which welcomes contributions and comments.
Surveys will be conducted in partnership with selected businesses in Galway, including multinational corporations, educational and health organisations, and companies. Some of this will take the form of focus groups.
The forum is also willing to engage directly with relevant stakeholders in developing its ideas, and it welcomes the opportunity to meet with any relevant groups, public or private.
The survey, which began on Monday, will take place over a seven week period up to January 21 2012. Once the survey is completed, the various suggestions will be assessed. These suggestions are expected to vary widely, from low cost to high cost proposals, and from specific changes to existing traffic flows to suggestions on behavioural change. A report outlining the key recommendations will then be prepared and presented to the integrated transportation co-ordinating group.
The group responsible for the initiative includes members of Engineers Ireland West Region, individuals with specific transportation expertise, and strong support from NUI Galway, firstly on the engineering side to address the traffic issues, and secondly from the Digital Enterprise Research Institute, bringing best practice in web technologies and smart systems.
“For a considerable period of time, Engineers Ireland West Region has had a strong focus on its contribution to the development and sustained growth of the west of Ireland,” said Padraic O’Donoghue, professor of civil engineering at NUI Galway and chairman of Engineers Ireland West Region. “It is critical that we maintain the character of our city and at the same time provide an effective and efficient transport system that is required in a modern city, so that Galway can continue to prosper. We in the engineering profession welcome the opportunity to participate in this initiative to promote greater public engagement in addressing sustainable transport in Galway city.”