New cycle lane to help Galway with population growth

Photo by Ellen O’Donoghue

Galway County Council are currently considering suggestions from the public ahead of the new Salthill cycleways commencement in March.

Councillors have voiced their support for the second option that has been presented to the council, detailing that the promenade would retain the two-way traffic system currently in place, with a one-way system between Bearna Road and Blackrock.

Green Party Councillor Niall Murphy believes “every extra cyclist is a benefit to the motorist” as public submissions for the Salthill cycleway has opened.

According to Cllr Murphy, the cycleway must accommodate everyone’s different journeys; “If your goal is to go to Salthill and the beach, parking will be an issue. If someone is going from Knocknacarra to the city centre, the commute will be your biggest issue.

“If at some stage in the future we are going to have a Galway with fewer cars, at what point do we accept that means there is going to be some changes?”

While this is a temporary measure from March until September, Cllr Murphy believes this has the potential to make a long term difference for years to come in Galway

“According to the National Development Framework, Galway will have one and a half times the population it does now in 2040. So, if there is going to be a population increase, can we really increase cars by that number?”

He goes on to acknowledge the changes people make now will ultimately benefit traffic congestion in the long run.

“If a small number of drivers change to the bike, or a small percentage of kids can cycle to school, that will ease traffic congestion in the long run. That is not the goal here, that’s the end game.”

Fellow Galway Green Party Councillor, Martina O’Connor, also believes the cycleway will help transition people into cycling.

“A lot of people in the last few years, are having to bring their children places to try to cycle but lose interest due to the dangers they face.”

Cllr O’Connor notes Waterford as somewhere that Salthill can learn from.

“Waterford is a great example, with a lot of cycling encouraged in this area. The businesses in this area have soared rather than fallen, there is a lot of research to support that.”

“We should embrace it, rather than fighting it. A lot of people want this, this doesn’t mean other methods of transport are eliminated.”

Cllr O’Connor hopes this can be a step towards a more green and inclusive Ireland.

“If you allow some change to the benefit of the earth, the whole world won’t fall apart. There is plenty of room for all of us who want to use different forms of transport,” she said.

Submissions from the public close on Friday 28 January.

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