Cllr James Charity welcomed the unanimous support of councillors at Tuesday’s Athenry-Oranmore municipal district meeting for the proposal to develop a safety strategy for local and minor roads experiencing heavy traffic volumes.
Following a spate of road traffic accidents in the district recently, Cllr Charity had urged the council to take affirmative action to address the plight of those living in rat runs bordering Galway city, where significant volumes of traffic use minor and local roads to avoid the Claregalway bottleneck and access Galway city. A campaign was set up by Cllr Charity last month to address the issue and the cross-political support for action, has been welcomed by him.
Cllr Charity said, “It is remarkable to me that no road safety strategy or policy has ever been considered by Galway county council for our local and minor roads. The safety of local residents, pedestrians and children, as well as road users and motorists themselves, is of paramount importance. Motorists are understandably frustrated by traffic in Claregalway and use these local and minor roads in places like Carnmore, Cregmore, Claregalway, Corrandulla, Ballindooley, and Castlegar to avoid the area. While the Claregalway bypass has long been mooted, it is clear there has been a complete failure to deliver it at a Government level and it’s not going to happen anytime soon.
“In the meantime, the council cannot continue to ignore the plight of those living along these rat runs and a balance has to be achieved between residents and motorists using these routes. It is simply incredible the council has not addressed this issue before and, as councillors, our role is to adopt policy which can benefit areas and improve people’s lives, not simply ensure that an odd pothole is filled in.
“For this reason, I asked the elected members of the Athenry-Oranmore municipal district to come together in a co-operative manner, leaving party and personal politics behind, and I’m delighted they have unanimously agreed to do so. I believe this is the first time there has been significant cross-political support of this level to actively pursue a policy which could literally change day to day lives of people living in these areas, and I genuinely want acknowledge the support of councillors Cronnelly, Noone, Feeney, Cuddy, Kinane, and Kearney in this regard.”
The independent councillor will meet with director of services Peter Gavican next week, in order to discuss the parameters for the policy and ensure it proceeds with input of all of councillors.
According to Cllr Charity the key aims to be address are; speed and safety on local and minor roads with heavy traffic volumes; health and safety for those living and using local and minor roads; and a plan to deal with overgrown grass verges and hedges.