Removing bike racks from the city centre to make way for the Coke Zero Bike Share scheme has led to concerns from cyclists that they will be left with nowhere to park their bicycles.
The removal of long established bike racks on Mainguard Street and Ravens Terrace, as well as the state of disrepair of other racks, has led to complaints from Labour city councillor Niall McNelis, and the establishment of an online petition by An Mheitheal Rothar, a local community bike workshop.
The Mainguard Street bike rack was recently removed to make way for a Coke Zero Bike hire scheme rack. This raised fears that bike scheme docking stations will replace all current bike racks, leaving established cyclists without parking facilities.
In response, An Mheitheal Rothar created an online petition calling on the Galway City Council and the Department of Transport to install “new free public bike stands” on Mainguard Street “where some stands are currently being removed” and on Ravens Terrace “where recent roadworks removed the previous ones”.
Although the group welcomes the Coke Zero Bike hire scheme, it says “there is already an under-supply” of bicycle parking facilities, and accused City Hall of having “no intention to replace the free public bike stands”. The petition can be accessed through Facebook.com/AnMheithealRothar and by Googling ‘Avaaz save our bike stands’.
The Coke Zero Bike Share Scheme is to come into effect by the end of this year, with docking stations at Nuns Island (beside the Equality Statue ), Cathedral carpark (southern end ), Woodquay, Dyke Road carpark, Newtownsmith, Eyre Square (north and south ), County Hall, City Hall, Ceannt Station, Forster Street, New Dock Street, St Augustine’s Street, Spanish Parade, and Raven Terrace.
Owing to various problems, work has currently stopped at Merchants Road, University Road, and Fr Griffin Road, although it is expected that the chief executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, will update councillors on progress in this area at Monday’s city council meeting.
Cllr McNelis is calling for a “common sense” approach to the “problematic” areas in order to find “a resolution on these locations”. He is also concerned by “a serious lack of bike parking in the city centre” and is calling for bike racks to be installed at The Sportsground on College Road.
City Hall however has sought to allay concerns by stressing that the removed free public bike stands will be replaced and that there will be regular parking facilities in addition to the share scheme docking stations.
In an email to An Mheitheal Rothar, Jim Molloy, the senior executive engineer in City Hall’s Galway Transportation Unit, informed the group that the council was “committed to providing new parking facilities” on Mainguard Street, Ravens Terrace, and also at New Dock Street.
He went on to say that these works “have been delayed” due to the introduction of the National Transport Authority’s bike scheme. He also asked the group to contact him with any further concerns.