Speed limit changes will not improve traffic flow, says councillor

Proposed changes to Galway City’s speed limit by-laws are being presented “without evidence”. This is according to the newly co-opted councillor Alan Curran.

The Social Democrat councillor said that he opposes the speed limit increases. He said that if they were brought back to the council for review that he will be voting against them.

“I don’t see anything to be gained or any evidence of the proposals increasing traffic flow. This is especially true on roads like Bóthar na dTreabh and the Quincentenary Bridge. These roads run alongside unprotected cycle lanes and footpaths.”

Proposed Changes

The proposed changes, which can be seen in full on the map below, will raise the limit on roads such as the N6 Bóthar na dTreabh from 50km per hour to 80km per hour. An increase is also proposed on the N6 Quincentenary Bridge, up to 60km per hour.

However, Cllr. Frank Fahy, who supports the increases, say they are logical and rational.

He said this is especially the case on roads such as Bóthar na dTreabh.The road saw highest amount of penalty point charges nationally last year.

The road accounts for nearly half of all Galway penalty point charges county wide.

“A lot of the people I’ve heard from who got penalty points, got them while doing 60-65km per hour on these roads very early in the morning. 80km per hour is the logical speed for these roads, so it is only reasonable that they be changed.”

Need better enforcement

Cllr. Curran pushed back on this point. He said that if the main reason for the speed limit increases is that people are doing these speeds illegally anyway, then what is needed is more effective enforcement.

He advocates for measures such as more speed cameras, like the ones used commonly in other cities in Europe, as an alternative.

Cllr. Curran’s is also a coordinator of one of the four school cycle-buses in Galway city. This is a further reason for his opposition to the proposed increases.

Cllr. Alan Curran (centre), pictured with Social Democrats Galway chairperson Niall Ó Tuathail (right) and Social Democrat councillor for Limerick City West Elisa O’Donovan (left).

He says that it is highly likely that the groups will be making public submissions opposing the plans.

This is a change from what another activist said back in January when the plans were first being submitted for public consultation.

He also said that he welcomes the proposed 30km per hour limit in the inner city, that this should be extended to cover all suburbs in the city, from Renmore and Doughiska, to Salthill and Knocknacarra.

Cllr. Fahy said that a review of the feasibility of extending the 30km per hour limit to roads outside schools is currently ongoing.

During January 2023’s National Slow Down Day, a driver was stopped in the early morning by Gardaí while doing 117km per hour in the 50km per hour zone on Bóthar na dTreabh.

Speeding has accounted for nearly 70 per cent of all penalty points given to Galway drivers in the last six years.

Open for public consultation

The review of the city’s speed limits has been underway since being agreed at council in March 2021. The initial report of the review was submitted on 31 August 2022.

The plans moved to the public consultation phase in January 2023.

The plans are currently on display at City Hall until Monday 3 April. Public submissions and objections to the proposals can be made until 16:00 on this date.

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