The future quality of life for a significant number of residents of Galway on both sides of the River Corrib is suddenly being threatened by the recent publication of the plans for the proposed 6 new N6 routes around or in some cases through Galway.
Stunned residents are being encouraged to choose between no less than 6 alternative routes and are being asked to select the one they prefer before a final decision on the chosen route is made this April.
I would strongly suggest that instead of asking residents to select between these various routes each of which will result in large numbers of residents being relocated, houses being knocked down and a 4 lane dual carriage way being routed through residential areas I think we should take a step back and ask a much more fundamental question i.e.
Why can’t the NRA come up with a route that is less damaging to people and to communities?
I realise that in asking a question like this may look like heresy to the City and County Councils but I firmly believe it is a question that we need to seriously consider before we set city residents up in opposition to one another in arguing for the route that has the least impact on them.
I readily concede that a plan is needed to reduce the time for commuters to get around the city especially at rush hour but I would strongly contend that this is not the plan. I would seriously question whether the time saved under the NRA’s latest plans justifies the forced relocation of families who have lived in localities for generations as well as the serious downgrading of the amenity value of the area for residents who live within a couple of hundred metres of the chosen route on either side of the river.
As a commuter who currently crosses the river twice a day going to and from work I would prefer to accept the present additional commuting time rather than save 15 minutes in either direction and see the forced relocation of residents and a serious downgrading of the amenity value of residents who live close to the chosen route.
It is worth remembering that people choose to live in Galway and tourists choose to visit Galway because it is recognised as a special place with a unique atmosphere and a beautiful and unspoiled environment which makes it one of the most popular places in Ireland to live in or to visit.
I would suggest that the newly proposed N6 routes will not enhance Galway as a place to live in or as a place to visit. I would argue that the opposite will be the case and places like Ballybrit, Coolagh, Menlo, Dangan, Bushypark, and Bearna to name but a few will all be significantly downgraded rather than enhanced if the proposed new routes go ahead.
I realise that the business community want to see a solution to the traffic problem in Galway city and a s a member of the business community so do I but not one that is so damaging to Galway, its communities and its environment.
The original city bypass was rejected because of its likely impact on the environment. If planning permission was rejected on environmental grounds then I would strongly suggest there is a more compelling argument for rejecting the new plan on this occasion because of the much greater adverse impact the proposed new route will have on the residents and communities of Galway. The previously plan would have seen the knocking of 8 houses, the lowest number under the new plan calls for 50 houses on the least destructive route and the more than 120 houses on the destructive route.
I recommend that the City and County Councils reject the new N6 routes and tell the NRA and Arup to come up with a new plan that addresses the traffic congestion in Galway but does not involve the destruction of so many properties, the dislocation of so many people and communities.
This plan is not the solution.