Cllr Colette Connolly says the decision to vary the City Development Plan and rezone recreational and amenity-zoned lands to facilitate the replacement of the Kirwan Roundabout to a signalized junction will not in any way solve the traffic problems in the city. Without any reference to priority being given to public transport the project simply permits a 15 per cent increase in the throughput of traffic, whereas the objective of the Galway Transport Strategy is to get more people using public transport and not facilitate private vehicular traffic.
She says the inference at this week’s Council meeting that the facilitation of the provision of pedestrian crossing facilities was central to the project and the Councillors who voted against the Variation were somehow against safety improvements for both the pedestrian and motorist.
Cllr Connolly says that nothing could be further from the truth and that she was the first councillor many years ago to propose that pedestrian facilities be put in on all roundabouts throughout the city and yet while this was rolled out in Knocknacarra Western Distributor Rd, Galway City Council failed to put in crossings at the Kirwan and and the roundabout at the GMIT, where there are significant numbers of pedestrians crossing.
It was not necessary, she says for a project of €1.2M to provide improved pedestrian facilities. This could have been done for very little money by putting in zebra crossings as is evident in all other local authorities and in Lorient a city in France which has a similar population and is twinned with Galway,
Cllr Connolly says that the variation, which will see the facilitation of the roundabout with a four-arm signalized junction and the diversion of the traffic from Coolough up through Balinfoile is utter madness. Given the huge volume of traffic coming in from Headford, motorists would then obliged to turn and join this traffic if they wish to get back into town or access the motorway.
She says the real solution to traffic chaos at this junction would be the provision of proper Park and Ride facilities in both East and West of the city. Certainly, the provision of such a facility that would significantly reduce the incoming traffic from Headford would have an enormous positive impact on traffic reduction. However, GCC do not seem to be actively pursuing this option and nor does national funding appear to be available to advance this as a positive solution, she added.