The €2.9 million of funding allocated to the development of pedestrian and cycling routes in Galway is a boost to the area, but a lack of consultation with cyclists and service users about the cycle lanes has made the plans haphazard.
That is according to Green Party election candidate Martina O’Connor, who has praised the potential health benefits and impact on the environment of the cycle and pedestrian routes. However, the nature of these plans is counterproductive to the effectiveness of the plans, she believes.
“Increased funding for cycle routes in a city the size of Galway is always very welcome. It falls well into the Green Party policy and has the potential to help people achieve health goals while commuting”, she said.
“Unfortunately the planning of the of cycle ways has been haphazard in Galway with little input from cyclists and service users”.
As things stand, cycling in Galway City has become dangerous and it is a deterrent to people who would have opted to cycle and O’Connor, a former nurse in UCHG, believes the lack of joined up routes in this plan are responsible for this.
“Cycling around Galway City has become a test for the bravest amongst us, as cycle routes are planned in a piecemeal nature and not joined up”, she said.
The funding for the proposed new route was secured under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund. In its application, the City Council maintained that with Galway’s population anticipated to rise by from 80,000 to 120,000 in the next 20 years, sustainable transport methods had to be developed.
Despite the flat nature of the city’s roads which make cycling easier, only 6.2% of the city’s workforce commute by bike on a daily basis. According to figures from the 2011 census, 47% of Galway’s populace lives under four kilometres from either their work or their education.