A group of concerned residents in the city have launched a campaign this week to highlight their opposition to the Emerging N6 Preferred Route. They claim that the construction of the road route will be ineffective, will wreck natural amenities and destroy communities. They also suggest that improved bus routes or also a light rail system and would be much more effective in alleviating the traffic problems.
“Politicians may not agree, but generally the Irish are a nation of non-complainers. As long as things are going moderately well, we don’t question why they are not excellent and, far too often, are slow to examine decisions made by City and County Councils,” the group have said in a statement.
They continue, “The proposed bypass is a case in point. Few people would disagree that something has to be done to ease Galway’s traffic problems. The failure to replace engineering staff to operate the smart lights system has ensured that bad traffic problems have become worse. Is this what the Councils want, in order to underline the need for the new road that is going to cost €600million plus? Who is going to benefit? Not the road user.
“Kristin Olsen, senior transportation expert for Arup itself, wrote in June 2015, ‘First, increasing the capacity of the road has been shown in most cases to be an ineffective means of addressing congestion. Typically, when the capacity of a road is increased through additional traffic lanes, congestion is eased only briefly. This is because easing congestion reduces travel time, which results in increased demand for travel and so demand goes up until the road is congested again. Where increasing capacity has successfully eased congestion, it has been in places where there is lagging or even declining activity.’”
“Not only is this bypass going to be ineffective”, explains the group, “it is going to knock down at least 41 homes, severely impact hundreds more, split communities and destroy natural amenities as well as hugely increasing Galway’s harmful emissions. Virtually every other city in the world trying to combat congestion is also intent upon lowering emissions and reducing vehicle use through public transport, cycling, pedestrianisation, and car-pooling.
“What is driving, no pun intended, the Councils, our local branch of Arup and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII ), formerly the NRA, to insist on this over-riding need for a road over other solutions despite the human and aesthetic cost to our city? A light rail system and improved bus routes from Barna, Knocknacarra and the west of the city to the businesses and industries in the east would immediately ease the problem. Safe, reliable school transport is a civil right for our children that Galway has failed to provide and which would reduce congestion greatly as we all experience during school holidays.
“As for the argument that the bypass will benefit tourists en route to Connemara and remove them from Galway traffic, our congestion problems are just as bad outside the tourist season,” the group said, adding that whilst our Councils spend our millions on Arup and other experts in preparation for this ineffective plan, where is the €600million plus going to come from? “This road project is glaringly absent from the Government’s published Capital Investments Plan, yet Galwegians have been led to believe that it will solve our traffic problems whilst some of our citizens also live with the threat that their homes and communities are going to be destroyed. What is this all about? Who or what is spearheading this project?” they concluded. -
For more details, see the advertisement on P13 of this newspaper.