City Council Removes Road Capacity from Cyclists on Tuam Road.

Is the city council sabotaging Government efforts to promote cycling?

20151125_google_maps_extractCaption: Google maps image showing location on Tuam Rd.

Since the 1980s Galway City has had a history of poor attitudes being shown by local council officials towards walking and cycling. The latest example is on the Tuam Road – a key corridor linking the city with the industrial areas around Ballybrit and Parkmore. Within the last month, the city council has revised road markings on a section of the Tuam Road. The net effect is to remove road capacity from cyclists. This follows an established pattern of the city council “sterilising” key corridors into the city for cycling – previous examples include the Headford Road and the N59 at Dangan. It also follows the recent removal of road capacity from cyclists at the key junction at the Fire Station/Fairhill on Fr Griffin Rd.

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ONE-WAY STREETS IMPEDING BIKE SHARE SUCCESS

Final_GCC_logo_7_06_2010Galway Cycling Campaign welcomed the launch of the city bike share scheme (Coca-Cola Zero Bikes) a year ago, but its success was in doubt from the start once the planned station on University Road was not built.

City Hall, in a last minute U-turn, removed one of the three largest docking stations from the scheme due to concerns over loss of 4–5 car parking spaces. “The decision to completely remove a station capable of holding up to 30 bicycles, one of only three of that size, clearly showed the priorities of City Hall at the time. UHG and NUIG lost their primary docking station link to the city centre even before rollout,” said Robert Mc Kenny, Campaign Chair.

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Cycling Campaign welcomes decision to suspend funding on Athlone Galway cycle route

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Need for root and branch review of entire project

 

 

The Galway Cycling Campaign has welcomed the decision by the Minister for Transport, Mr. Paschal Donohoe TD, to suspend funding for the controversial Galway section of a proposed cross country cycleway.  We think there should now be a root and branch review of the conduct of the project agencies which has caused consternation among landowners along the route. The NRA and Council Roads departments were clearly not suitable to deliver such a project and it should now be given to other agencies. The suspension of the project was needed since it was having a damaging effect on whole concept of cycle tourism and recreational cycling in rural areas. The behaviour of the NRA and County Council Roads departments threatened to do profound damage to the development of cycling tourism in Galway and nationally.

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Budget 2016: Cycling Campaign calls for car-parking income to be taken from councils

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Cyclists call for action on local councils who are “addicted to cars

 

 

In a pre-budget submission, the Galway Cycling Campaign is calling on the Government to remove car-parking revenue from local authorities and take away financial incentives to promote private-cars over other forms of transport.  Figures in a 2010 report for the Irish Parking Association show that nationally, Irish local authorities accounted for 27% of car-parking capacity and 33% of parking revenue.  The local council component of the business accounted for €115 million in annual revenue.  The Cycling Campaign submission points out that car-parking revenue gives local authority managers a financial motive to prioritise cars over other forms of transport. This conflict of interest has strong negative implications for state transport policy.

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Budget 2016: Cyclists call for deposit on glass bottles

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Budget 2016: Stop the puncture problem at source say cyclists

 

 

 

The Galway Cycling Campaign has made a submission on Budget 2016 calling for a national deposit scheme on glass bottles.

Moving motor vehicles have a “sweeping” effect that pushes broken glass, gravel and grit to the edge of the roadway. Cycle lanes and cycle tracks are parts

of the road that no longer get “swept” by passing cars, so they automatically collect more of this unwelcome material.

Scaled 2013-02-22 10.24.28Broken glass on a Galway cycle path

Roadside cycle paths in particular can be hard to reach for the usual Irish road-sweeping vehicles, and many are notorious for collecting broken glass. One UK study found that cycle track users are seven times

more likely than road cyclists to get punctures.[i] 

For a cyclist in a city like Galway, getting a puncture while you are approaching a roundabout can also be a serious safety issue.

The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark all have deposit schemes on glass bottles, but Ireland does not. It is our view that to support the Government’s Smarter Travel programmes, Ireland needs to introduce compulsory deposits on glass bottles.

[i] Franklin, J. (1999). Two decades of the Redway cycle paths of Milton Keynes. Traffic Engineering and Control, Aug. 1999.

Cycling Campaign say old N6 not suitable location for International Greenway

Final_GCC_logo_7_06_2010IFA and NRA sabotage jobs boost for East Galway

Funding should be scrapped or go elsewhere if suitable route not found

 

 

The Galway Cycling Campaign has called on the Minister for Transport, Mr. Paschal Donohoe TD, to reject IFA proposals to put a local section of an international greenway beside the old N6. Controversy has erupted about the routing of the Galway section of the Eurovelo 2 cycling route. The route is meant to start in Galway and end in Moscow and much of the mainland sections are already in place. Conflict has arisen between the IFA and the NRA who have proposed to CPO farmers’ land to construct the route.

Eurovelo 2 route from Wikimedia Commons uploaded by user Rbrausse. Adapted from European Cyclists’ Federation Eurovelo routes map

Eurovelo 2 route from Wikimedia Commons uploaded by user Rbrausse. Adapted from European Cyclists’ Federation Eurovelo routes map

The cyclists say both sides are at fault with the NRA approach viewed as poorly managed and divisive. The county council and NRA seem to have ignored standard methods for providing such routes without splitting farms. The cyclists accept that the appointment of the NRA to lead the project has been highly questionable and that the NRA involvement has not been positive. However, the IFA suggestion of putting a Greenway beside a busy road is equally flawed and would make the country a laughing stock.

The cyclists say a reality check is needed. The Greenway represents strategic international infrastructure and, if implemented correctly, could open up a huge new tourism product for East Galway. Elsewhere in Europe cycling tourism is big business. Over 5 million Germans take a cycling holiday every year. Domestically, the German cycling tourism market has sales of more than €9 billion annually. In 2010 just over one million Dutch people went on a cycling holiday with the potential market estimated at €1.7 million. For the Italian tourism market, adventure holidays (of which cycling is a part) generated €510,000 million of travel retail sales in 2008. In 2008, around 970,000 UK holiday makers took part in cycling while on holiday. There is also a large untapped Irish market. In 2007, research found that 28% of Irish adults had used a bicycle in the previous year.

Between the towns of Gort, Loughrea and Ballinasloe there are currently over 5000 people on the live register. Retail in Ballinasloe has been decimated. The cycling route represents an enormous opportunity for communities along its path – including the farming community. By pushing a “solution” that would destroy the essential nature of the Greenway, the IFA are open to the accusation that they are sabotaging economic recovery for local communities and towns in East Galway.

Following a brief meeting with the Minister on Monday 31st of August, the cycling campaign is to bring forward alternative proposals for a different process for creating such routes. The cycling campaign endorses the view that it is better to redirect any funds elsewhere in the country than to spend them on a second class version of a cycling route in Galway.

Note on cycling tourism in Europe.

In 2010 the Dutch ministry of foreign affairs commissioned reviews of the potential for cycling tourism in Europe. They estimated that 5.6 million Germans took a cycling holiday yearly. It was found that German cyclists make up over a fifth of cycling EU tourists and around a fifth of Germans have taken at least one cycling holiday. Domestically, the German cycling tourism market has sales of more than €9 billion annually. In 2010 just over one million Dutch people went on a cycling holiday with the potential market estimated at 1.7 million. For Dutch tourists, cycling is the third most popular theme holiday after cultural holidays and hiking. Dutch cycling tourists invest a lot of money in their holiday bikes. In 2007, the Dutch spent an average of €1,600 on a holiday bike in 2007 and €2,400 on average in 2010. For the Italian tourism market, adventure holidays (of which cycling is a part) generated €510,000 million of travel retail sales in 2008. In 2009, 2.6% of Italian travellers went on a sport-related holiday. The main motivations for Italians taking cycling holidays include ‘nature’, ‘sports and exercise’, ‘culture’, and a desire to be away from cars and traffic. In 2008, around 970,000 UK holiday makers took part in cycling while on holiday. There is also a large untapped Irish market. In 2007, research found that 28% of Irish adults had used a bicycle in the previous year.

Sources
Cycling tourism in Germany, Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2011
Cycling tourism in the Netherlands, Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2011
Cycling tourism in Italy, Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2011
Cycling tourism in the UK, Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2011
SLÁN 2007 Survey of Lifestyle, Attitudes AND Nutrition in Ireland Main Report, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND CHILDREN, 2008

Statbank data
Persons on Live Register (Number) by Sex, Age Group, Social Welfare Office and Month
(Both sexes and All ages 2015M07)

Ballinasloe 2,076
Gort 1,197
Loughrea 1,920

Total 5,193

Cycling Campaign makes submission on the Galway City Traffic Management Programme.

Final_GCC_logo_7_06_2010Calls for vision of Galway as a University City with traffic reduced city centre.

Houses may have to go in Knocknacarra

 

The Galway Cycling Campaign has made a submission on on the Galway City Integrated Traffic Management Programme Consultation. The central vision put by the campaign is that Galway should be managed like other well known university cities. Their submission argues that Galway should see itself as the Oxford or Cambridge of Ireland. Likewise car-focused cities such as Los Angeles

or Birmingham are poor models for Galway to follow. The cycle campaign argue for a system of traffic cells modelled on cities like Delft and Groningen with cars banned from crossing the city centre. The Salmon Weir bridge, O’Briens bridge and Wolfe Tone bridge would be closed to private cars but remain open to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. Private traffic crossing the city would need to use the Quincentenial Bridge.

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Image: Google Satellite view showing proposed “traffic cells” created by managing access across three city centre bridges.

 

For the wider city, the submission calls for an approach based on a “Hierarchy of Solutions” taken from official guidance. This would require comprehensive measures to address car speeds on city roads with a focus on enforcement. It is stressed that problematic road features need to be removed or modified. Examples include roundabouts in the city which must be either removed or traffic calmed with raised zebra crossings. Substandard lane widths such as at traffic lights are also highlighted. The cycle campaign calls for remedial measures for newer car-based areas of the city such as Knocknacarra. Here the cul-de-sac based housing model needs to be dismantled. In some cases, it may be necessary to purchase properties and demolish them in order to create a functional roads network. Without this, walking, cycling and public transport are discouraged by excessively long travel distances. In addition, smaller schoolchildren must have traffic-free routes away from main roads if school-run congestion is to be tackled The consultation exercise is part

of the controversial Galway bypass process conducted by Galway City and County councils.

knocknacarradetour_with_lables

Image: Google Satellite view showing walking distances to local amenities from two adjacent houses.  Residents in house A in Cartur Mor must walk over 2km.  The same trip for a resident of Cloch Ard is 600-700m.

Link to submission (790kb pdf)

2015_GCC_Submission_Galway_City_Integrated_Traffic_Management_Programme

Give Cyclists the Green Light

green lightGalway Cycling Campaign is calling for all traffic light systems to be rectified so that they give the green light to cyclists at junctions.
Sensors at many junctions in Irish cities are turning green for motorists, but not for cyclists.
Galway Cycling Campaign cautiously welcome the introduction of on-the-spot fines for cyclists.
Offences which penalise cyclists for cycling at night without a light or failing to stop for a School Warden fine are especially welcome.
However, our roads are not yet ready for implementing the running a red light offence.
Currently it is unjust and unworkable to expect cyclists

to stop for all red lights.
“For example, I am cycling and I stop at the stop line at a junction. The lights do not detect me, so they stay red, and a queue forms behind me. If I go beyond the stop line, which is technically an offence, and beckon the driver behind me to move forward to activate

the sensor, only then will the lights change,” explained Shane Foran, Galway Cycling Campaign’s Technical Specialist.
He also pointed out that if there were no cars behind him, the sensor may not detect him. “If I was cycling into town at night when it was a bit quieter,

and there were no cars behind me at this junction, I would be left waiting there in vain. The lights would stay red indefinitely. I would argue that in effect, several generations of Irish roads engineers have been training Irish cyclists to ignore red traffic lights,” said Mr Foran.
This situation is a failure on behalf of roads authorities to comply with the law which states that “a road authority shall consider the needs of all road users. (Article 13.5 of the 1993 Roads Act)
Galway Cycling Campaign are

calling on the Minister for Transport Paschal Donohue to issue a direction ordering that all traffic signals change for cyclists.
“This flaw in the system is easily remedied. Timers at traffic lights could be used instead or else more appropriate sensor systems,” said Mr Foran.

To read the letter that Galway Cycling Campaign sent to Minister for Transport Paschal Donohue please click here:

Fixed Penalty Notices Letter to Paschal Donohue

Open letter to Editor of City Tribune, Galway

17th June 2015
Dear Editor,
We are writing to respond to opinions recently expressed by City Tribune journalist Declan Tierney. On May 22 (page 2) he suggested that cycling campaigners should hold a “seminar” to inform the general public “as to how they should behave when on their bikes.”
On June 5 (page 2) he wrote: “We are encouraging the Galway Cycling Campaign to embark on something of a tutorial. It would be great if they would encourage the cycling public in general to stop behaving like idiots when they are on their bicycles.” He also declared, “Some cyclists have absolutely no respect for the pedestrianised areas of Galway.”
We are writing to echo the views of Simon Comer from Cosáin whose excellent letter was published on this page last week. He made the point that cycling campaign groups have been tirelessly lobbying for many years for safer conditions for cyclists.
Galway Cycling Campaign, a group made up entirely of volunteers, is one of these groups and has been lobbying on behalf of cyclists for 17 years. We have also contributed hugely over the years to educating Galway’s cyclists.
Our ‘Share the Road’ and ‘Cycling Skills’ leaflets have proved continuously popular and have been adopted for use in other cities. Some of our members are accredited cycle instructors, and deliver training sessions to adults.
We have also produced a series of road signs with messages such as ‘Always use lights at night and ‘Please respect pedestrian crossings.’
We do not have a statutory role in enforcing traffic laws or in implementing government cycling policy. We are all too aware, especially this week – National Bike Week – that cyclists are vulnerable road users, and will come out the worst in collisions with vehicles.
Mr Tierney declares that the GCC should “embark on a learning curve.” We however believe that it is Mr Tierney himself who is in need of the learning curve. He is quick to condemn cyclists, and fails to understand why cyclists are using pedestrianised streets at all.
Cycling is now enshrined in national government policy, as outlined in Smarter Travel and the National Cycle Policy Framework. Galway City Council has a role in promoting cycling and providing adequate facilities.
Cycling infrastructure in the city is simply not good enough. The existence of a one-way system in the city centre results in cyclists being forced into pedestrian areas. Allowing cyclists to move both ways on a one-way street is a simple solution to this problem. Our educational materials advise cyclists to dismount in pedestrian areas.
Mr Tierney, the next time you see a cyclist on a pedestrian street, ask yourself why they are there at all. And then, instead of suggesting that a resource-poor voluntary organisation provide seminars for the public, think carefully about what specific local and national bodies have statutory obligations to educate the cycling public.
Yours,
Mairéad Ní Chaoimh,
Galway Cycling Campaign

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