Some €550,000 of a €2.2 million Government grant for transport improvement projects in Galway will go towards developing cycleways in the city and Salthill, and other cycling infrastructure.
The grant, which will be distributed between 14 different projects - some new, others ongoing - was announced yesterday morning by the Minister for Transport, Paschal Donohoe. As well as money for cycling facilities, there will also be grants for a transport plan for the city centre, pedestrian infrastructure, and work in the Tuam Road area.
The funding has been welcomed by Fine Gael senator, Hildegarde Naughton. “This is good news for commuters in Galway,” she said. “Galway city’s narrow streets and footpaths lead to congestion. This funding of sustainable transport is vital to developing our tourist industry and in supporting business in Galway.”
Her party colleague, Galway West TD, Seán Kyne, said the works to be funded will “improve the task of navigating the city” for “pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, and public transport users”.
Of the €550,000 for cycling, €340,000 is for developing various cycleways, including the Bearna Greenway, which is to receive €200,000. The money will go towards the design of the route, which runs from Wolfe Tone Bridge to the western edge of Bearna. The design and planning stages begin later this year, with particular attention on assessing its environmental impact.
There will be €80,000 to go towards the Fairgreen Road Cycleway/Pedestrian Facilities Scheme, which will see the introduction of cycling facilities, and the upgrading of footpaths and crossings between Lough Atalia Road and Forster Street.
A total of €60,000 will go towards an on-road cycle lane on Threadneedle Road, from the tennis club to the junction with Kingston Road, mainly to provide safe entry and exit at Salerno and Coláiste Einde schools.
Cycle users in the city, who have long complained that there are far too few parking spaces for bikes in Galway, will welcome the €40,000 to provide new bike parking facilities and to upgrade of existing ones.
There will also be €20,000 to install cycle signage to deliver a network of cycle routes for the city and county, with an emphasis on promoting leisure and tourist cycling; and €100,000 towards the on-going operational costs of the Coca-Cola Zero Bike scheme. In order to encourage cycling and use of the bike scheme, €50,000 is to support ‘Behavioural Change Support Measures’ such as cyclist training workshops in schools and workplaces.
Regarding other projects which come under the grant, €930,000 is to provide large variable message signs to be placed at various points on the city's road network - particularly entry points - to display car parking and traffic information, to be controlled by the Urban Traffic Management and Control centre at City Hall. This third and final phase will see the installation of 31 signs.
Grant money will also be used for work in the Galway city centre area, with €75,000 for an overall traffic management plan for the city centre; €110,000 for improvements to footpaths, road crossings, and laneways; €100,000 for the upgrade of the pedestrian crossings at the bus exit from Ceannt Station and Victoria Place; €25,000 towards tour and commuter bus parking at Galway Cathedral; and €50,000 will be used to upgrade various bus stops across the city.
The Tuam Road/Joyce Road junction improvement and bus prioritisation scheme is to get €100,000. Work will involve improving pedestrian and cyclist facilities; bus prioritisation on Tuam Road and on the outbound approach to the junction from Joyce’s Road; and through the junction of Joyce’s Road and Monivea Road. Construction is planned to start in 2016.
There will also be €60,000 for the design of a 2.75km inbound bus lane along the N17 Tuam Road, from the Parkmore Road junction to the junction with the N6.