By Ellen O’ Regan
Parking restrictions along the promenade in Salthill may be extended for six months even after the current Level 5 lockdown is lifted.
All parking along the promenade in Salthill, as well as both designated car parks, are currently blocked off to discourage people from breaching Level 5 restrictions.
Transport Minister Eamon Ryan suggested keeping some of the parking restrictions in place:
“This could transform the seafront in Galway. It would be a brilliant benefit to the people here and to any visitors this summer” he said.
Minister Ryan advocated in the Dáil about the opportunity granted by COVID-19 to rethink how our urban centres are set out, and place pedestrians and cyclists at the forefront of that thinking. There is opportunity for transformation of the Salthill area if consensus could be reached, but prolonging reduced parking into the summer is unlikely to please anyone.
Since the parking restrictions were introduced in January, local residents are noticing an escalation in parking in areas off the promenade.
City Councillor Donal Lyons highlighted the oppressive nature of the parking restrictions for a large number of people, especially the elderly, who normally just pull in for the views.
“There’s still large numbers of people walking the prom, they’re now just parking in estates which is causing difficulty” Cllr Lyons said.
Richard Silke regularly cycles through Salthill to visit his mother living off the promenade, and brings his 8 year old son to school each morning.
“It was terrible to cycle before the restrictions and it’s still terrible now.”
“Before, you had to keep an eye on every single car and assess the potential of being doored. The parking restrictions have made it more dangerous for cyclists. Now there’s more space for cars, so cars are going faster. It feels like a racetrack” he said.
Mr. Silke said that current restrictions should be evolved into a cycle lane, rather than simply extended.
However, in July of last year, Galway City Council voted against introducing a temporary cycling lane in Salthill as a COVID-19 related mobility measure.
The proposal was rejected on the basis of strong opposition by businesses in the area.
For government guidelines on Covid regulations, click here