Galway City Council has voted in favour of introducing a 30km speed limit in the city centre to make the streets safer but should have little impact on current traffic.
That’s according to Social Democratic Councillor, Owen Hanley, who proposed the motion.
The proposal was accepted by the council by a vote of eight to six.
Cllr Hanley said that, while there will be very little change to traffic as it is, the biggest difference will be seen at off-peak times.
“I don’t think it’s going to have any substantial impact on city traffic. I think there’ll be a couple of noticeable changes. At night-time I think it will reduce dangerous speeds, which is a real concern because you know people who are out at night socializing, drinking in areas where footpaths are very very small and road space is quite dominant,” he said.
Cllr Hanley also spoke about how speed reduction could benefit the city in other ways.
“Another point to make is that it will also reduce noise pollution.”
“I think a lot of the change that we have to make to grow more sustainably means also have higher levels of the population living in the city centre area, and one of the things that would discourage you from doing that is noise and air pollution.”
The Social Democrat also discussed the impact that the speed limit would have on cyclists as plans for a temporary cycle lane in Salthill were revoked by the council last month.
“It’s a change of culture. It’s prioritizing cycling and walking by making it less aggressive, less difficult and less unsafe to do so in our city centre.” Cllr Hanley said.
Galway Cycling Campaign has welcomed the new speed limit,
“The reduction in speeds will make it safer and quieter for pedestrians, wheelchair users, and cyclists to navigate the city centre.”
The Campaign would still like to see further actions being taken by the Council to make cycling in Galway safer,
“We hope that Galway City Council will take the opportunity to extend these limits to the outskirts of the city also and particularly to any road which does not have segregated cycling spaces.”
The campaign has said that the idea that it would take a year to implement the speed limit is ‘ludicrous’.
“This is a thriving city where people live and work and shop and do business, it is not a place for high transit”.
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