Galway Cycling Campaign appeals Parkmore Road redesign to An Bord Pleanála

The Galway Cycling Campaign has lodged an appeal against the IDA’s proposed redesign of Parkmore Road to An Bord Pleanála, the planning appeals board.
The design of Parkmore Road, the proposed road link and the junction must be revisited as it does not conform to the Department of Transport’s own guidelines.

The wide sweeping curvature of the proposed left in / left out junction will encourage high turning speeds by cars entering and exciting Parkmore West.
The Department’s 2013 ‘Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets’ states the following in section 4.3.3 Corner Radii:
“Reducing corner radii will significantly improve pedestrian and cyclist safety at junctions by lowering the speed at which vehicles can turn corners.”
The proposed design uses corner radii (curvature) of 12 meters which significantly exceeds the general recommendations of the design manual.

Of additional concern is the inclusion of concrete islands in the design which will create pinch points for cyclists.
The proposed narrow cycle lanes of only 1 meter in width will push cars closer to cyclists using the same road space.
Hard shoulders or cycle lanes should be at least 2 meters wide.

Parkmore Road HGV showing clearance with narrow cycle lane

Parkmore Road – HGV showing clearance with narrow cycle lane of 1.25m

Parkmore Cycle Lane Southbound.

Parkmore Cycle Lane Southbound full of Concrete and Gravel. Photo: 19-05-2016

“The plans will have to revised anyway as the measurements for the road widths do not add up correctly. We have pointed this out to An Bord Pleanála,” said Oisin O’Nidh, Campaign PRO.
Another problem for the existing cycle lanes on Parkmore Road is that they are rarely maintained. Cycle lanes are rarely swept and result in the gathering of debris, such as gravel and dirt.

Parkmore Road - gravel and dirt in the cycle lane. Cycle lane is barely visible.

Parkmore Road – gravel and dirt in the cycle lane. Cycle lane is barely visible.

Parkmore road - glass in the cycle lane

Parkmore road – glass in the cycle lane(Image: Cosain Twitter: @Cosaingalway)

Along with the concerns about the safety of the road design, the Campaign has pointed out that the IDA has done very little to improve cycling and walking access to Parkmore West and Parkmore East. “We have put together a proposal for an alternative route via the Racecourse which would provide a more direct and safe connection for cyclists and pedestrians accessing Parkmore,” said Shane Foran, Galway Cycling Campaign spokesman. These proposals would use existing internal roads within the Racecourse lands and would allow people cycle or walk to avoid the busy national roads like the N17 and N6. The following document outlines this proposal in more detail. 2015_Race_course_shortcut_proposal

Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets 2013 is available from the following link:
Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets 2013

City Council Removes Road Capacity from Cyclists on Tuam Road.

Is the city council sabotaging Government efforts to promote cycling?

20151125_google_maps_extract

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caption: 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.

201510_streetview_at_Mervue_bp_looking_north

Caption: Google Street View image showing older markings at Teach na Coiribe.

20151028_Tuam_Road_near_B&B_scaled

Caption: The same road at Teach na Coiribe with the new road markings

Like other roads of the same age in Galway, the Tuam Road is approximately 9.0–9.2m wide. This had the advantage of giving spacious lanes that were 4.6m wide. Lanes this wide have enough room for heavy vehicles to pass cyclists with adequate clearance. During times of heavy traffic, there was also enough room for cyclists to maintain progress past queuing vehicles. The Tuam Road was never a nice place to cycle. As with other city council designs, the overall design of the road encourages speeding, and junctions like Cemetery Cross, Riverside and the junction with Bothar na dTreabh/N6 are somewhat cyclist hostile. However, the city council now seems to be working to shut out cyclists over longer sections of the route.

20151028_Tuam_Road_near_Trappers_scaled

Caption: Photo showing older markings and newer versions pushing cars into the edge of the road.

Along with recent resurfacing, the city council has marked large central ghost islands using white hatching. They have also marked new turning pockets at the entrances to the IDA estate and the housing estates at Ashbrook and Mullan Mór. The lane width on the changed segment has now been cut down to 3.2m. This has the effect of pushing queueing traffic to the edge of the road. If the queueing vehicles are mainly family cars then it might be possible to maintain progress to their left – provided the drivers show some courtesy. But once there are larger vans, trucks or buses in the queue, it becomes impossible for cyclists to maintain progress on the left. If they don’t want to stay there breathing exhaust fumes, cyclists have two choices: They can take to the footpaths or cycle in the central hatching, both of which are unlawful under the traffic regulations. Small sections of turning lane might be useful for right-turning cyclists, but not at the expense of blocking the road at peak travel times. Before the change there were smaller road markings at some places, achieving the same effect.

20151120_Tuam_Road_Truck_Scaled

Caption: Photo showing effect of road markings on queueing by larger vehicles.

Arguably, by using such markings the city council is sabotaging recent government efforts to promote cycling. Prior to 2012, Irish Traffic law did not provide for cyclists generally passing queued traffic on the left. But in 2012 the government amended the traffic regulations to make this available for cyclists (Statutory Instrument No. 332 of 2012). Regrettably, government efforts to encourage cycling have not stopped the city council from trying to find ways to remove any remaining road space from cyclists.

The Tuam Road is of similar dimensions to the Western Distributor Road. On the Western Distributor Road, space was found for 1.5m cycle lanes. 1.5m is on the narrow side, and it was arguably little better than false advertising to mark cycle lanes on a road with a series of hostile roundabouts. But the point is that if there is room for 1.5m cycle lanes on these roads, there is room for 1.5m hard shoulder markings or some other feature that would allow cyclists to keep moving.

20151125_western_distributor_road

Caption: Google Street View image showing the Western Distributor Road, a road of similar dimensions to the Tuam Rd.

There is no “plausible deniability” for the council roads department on the issue of road space and cycling. The issue has been in the literature for at least two decades. The 1995 German guidance “Recommendations for Cycling Facilities” (Empfehlungen für Radverkehrsanlagen) recommends 4.25m lanes for roads where cyclists mix with heavy vehicles and buses. The 1996 UK guidance “Cycle Friendly Infrastructure” gives the same advice. The 2005 document “Lancashire: the cyclists’ county” advises: “If it creates a tight or critical profile, central hatching should only be used where traffic flows are light.” This critical profile (which may encourage close overtaking) is given as 3.10m to 3.75m. The lane width created on the Tuam Road is 3.2m.

2015_Lancashire_extract_critical_section

Extract from “Lancashire the Cyclists’ County showing central hatching creating a critical section that increases conflict.

The issue of adequate lane widths has been raised repeatedly in submissions from the Galway Cycling Campaign for over a decade, including:

  • 2002 Galway Cycling Campaign Review of Irish National Cycle Facilities Manual
  • 2003 Galway Cycling Campaign Submission on the Draft Development Plan for Galway City (2005-2011 Version)
  • 2005 Comments on proposed roadworks on old Dublin road in Galway City
  • 2005 Comments on proposed roadworks on Headford road in Galway City
  • 2006 Submission on the Galway City Bus study
  • 2010 Galway Cycling Campaign Submission on the Draft Development Plan for Galway City
  • (2011 to 2017 Version)
  • July 2015 Galway Cycling Campaign Submission on the Galway City Integrated Traffic Management Programme Consultation

In some of these submissions we speculated that this kind of central hatching might have some benefits for cyclists but observed that “this may depend on traffic levels being relatively light”. The Tuam Road is one of the busiest corridors in Galway, and queues form at this location at rush hour.

In 2005, the city council brought in a scheme for an inbound bus lane on the old Dublin Road in Renmore. They found the space for the bus lane by removing road space from cyclists on the outbound lane travelling towards GMIT from the city. The Galway Cycling Campaign pointed out at the time that this would mean cars could not get past cyclists in the outbound lane during heavy traffic. This is exactly what happened, and the city council came back later with another road scheme to widen the outbound lane.

In 2012, in discussions and submissions on the draft City Walking and Cycling Strategy, the Galway Cycling Campaign sought audits on locations where cyclists were being obstructed by queuing traffic. Instead of doing this and taking remedial measures, the council instead seems to be increasing the locations where cyclists are obstructed.

There is a direct conflict between various actions of the city council. On the Tuam Road and elsewhere they are removing capacity from cyclists while at the same time they are also spending state funds on short sections of token cycle facilities in other places.  Taken together at face value, the council’s overall actions can seem more consistent with a goal of reducing cycle use in the city and increasing the volume of cars and the associated traffic congestion.

Sources

ERA 95 Empfehlungen für Radverkehrsanlagen, Forschungsgesellschaft für Straßen- und Verkehrswesen, Cologne 1995

Cycle-Friendly Infrastructure: Guidelines for Planning and Design: Institution of Highways and Transportation, Cyclists Touring Club, 1996

Lancashire County Council, Lancashire – the cyclists’ county. A code for planning, designing and maintaining roads and tracks for cyclists. November 2005

S.I. No. 332 of 2012
————————
ROAD TRAFFIC (TRAFFIC AND PARKING) (AMENDMENT) (NO. 2)
REGULATIONS 2012

S.I. No. 332 of 2012
————————
ROAD TRAFFIC (TRAFFIC AND PARKING) (AMENDMENT) (NO. 2)
REGULATIONS 2012

Article 10 sub article 5

(b) A pedal cyclist may overtake on the left where
vehicles to the pedal cyclist’s right are stationary
are moving more slowly than the overtaking pedal
cycle, except where the vehicle to be overtaken—
(i) has signalled an intention to turn to the left and
there is a reasonable expectation that the vehicle
in which the driver has signalled an intention to
turn to the left will execute a movement to the
left before the cycle overtakes the vehicle,
(ii) is stationary for the purposes of permitting a passenger
or passengers to alight or board the
vehicle, or
(iii) is stationary for the purposes of loading or
unloading.”,

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.

As of today, only 13 stations out of 15 are operational in Galway city. A total of 19 were meant to be built over a year ago. The greatest distance is between stations at Fr Burke Road and City Hall, which are 1.7km apart. Their proximity to one another is widely believed to discourage potential users.

City Hall’s decisions to omit planned docking stations and ignore recommendations on one-way streets did not bode well for the scheme from the start. It is no surprise to the Cycling Campaign that Galway’s is the least-used scheme nationwide by a significant margin. If it were expanded to the same number of stations as Limerick (23) or Cork (31), and if the one-way streets issue were dealt with, then it could match those cities’ usage numbers.

One-way streets lead to long detours for cyclists, as Campaign member Shane Foran explained. “There is a bike share station on Mainguard Street near St Nicholas Church. The distance to the next bike share station at Newtownsmith is 350m. Because of the one-way street system and a ban on cycling in the pedestrian zone, the return journey from Newtownsmith to Mainguard St. is 1.1km by the northern route and 2.1km by the southern route.”20150927_Market_St_Street_View_with_notes

The one-way streets problem has long been highlighted by the Campaign as a barrier to cycling in Galway. The Jacobs Report, which was the initial feasibility study for the bike share scheme, described Galway as “awkward to navigate by bike” and recommended providing two-way cycling on one-way streets – a common feature in other European cities. This has not been implemented. “Two-way cycling on one-way streets has been in the City Development Plan for a decade now, and the Jacobs Report stressed its importance in its Executive Summary,” said Campaign PRO Oisín Ó Nidh. “If Galway City Council had followed the recommendations of the Jacobs Report, then Galway would not be in last place.”

Further reading:

See our discussion paper: Addicted to cars; the role of car parking revenue for Irish local authorities and implications for state policy.

Appendix 1: Public Bike Share in Galway – Page 7

Appendix 2: The impact of one-way streets and disk parking on school children – Page 9

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.

The Cycling Campaign have previously pointed out that the county councils and NRA had ignored standard methods for providing such routes without splitting farms.  From the outside the impression was of a project intended to maximise the cost to the taxpayer and thereby maximise any disruption to local communities and for little useful purpose. The conduct of the agencies involved has raised the spectre of the worst days of the Celtic Tiger.   The project was handled like some kind of “mini-motorway” scheme. Coloured lines were drawn on maps and compulsory purchase orders proposed for lands along these designated corridors.  A completely new road was to be pushed through the countryside of East Galway with little or no attempt to make use of existing infrastructure already in public ownership.  The argument might be made that this was what was specified in the term of reference for the project.  However, these terms of reference were probably drawn up in consultation with the agencies involved.  Either way they should not have been accepted as the basis for the project.

Old_Clifden_Road
This quiet country road near Recess is to form part of the proposed Oughterard-Clifden cycleway. Is there nothing like this in all of East Galway?

These agencies also seemed to simply ignore successful models for cycling tourism that were already working in County Galway. Cycling is central to the tourism product on the Aran Islands. On Inis Mór, cycling is a popular way for tourists to explore the island. Visitors hire bikes near the quay when they get off the ferry and use minor country roads shared with local motor traffic. The key point is that these roads are used by low volumes of motor vehicles on local journeys. In our view, it would be bizarre to suggest that similar conditions cannot be created elsewhere in the county.

There are also successful models for creating rural recreational routes already operating on the ground. Up and down the country, rural recreation officers and county heritage officers have been working with local communities, for minimal cost, to develop walking routes using local country lanes and boreens. These programs attract wide community buy-in and the resulting routes are “adopted” by local communities. Instead of building on this successful model, the NRA and Council Roads engineers took an approach that maximised cost and alienated local communities. The key point about cycle routes is that they are first and foremost to serve the local community. These local segments then link up to provide larger networks.

Along with the conduct of the scheme, the route choice itself had raised eyebrows. We have been discussing and thinking about the Dublin-Galway route for nearly two decades. The Royal Canal never suggested itself as an obvious choice. The obvious choice was always to follow the Grand Canal to Shannon Harbour and tie in with Clonmacnoise and the Beara Breifne Cycle route which starts in West Cork and ends in Fermanagh. The Royal Canal to Mullingar suggests itself as a route for getting to Mayo rather than Galway. Some commentators have now been calling for the extension of the Royal Canal route towards Mayo.

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.

To fix the problem, we propose a system of strategic parking levies.  A system of car-parking levies would also have wider uses such as providing support for businesses in town centres and support for anti-congestion projects such as park and ride schemes.  Such levies could be used to provide a level-playing field between hard-pressed town centres and out-of-town shopping centres that should not have been allowed in the first place.

streetview_bohermore_galway
Galway City (Bohermore): Google Street View showing this strategic access corridor, the local authority has removed road space from cyclists to provide paid on-street parking. The disk parking arrangements with painted parking lanes and ticket machines can be seen.

See our discussion paper: Addicted to cars; the role of car parking revenue for Irish local authorities and implications for state policy.

In a discussion document “Addicted to Cars” passed to the Department of Finance, we point out that the state has invested in measures intended to promote sustainable travel such as walking, cycling and public transport, yet little overall growth has been seen. The way councils use funds for sustainable transport often creates new problems or avoids fixing old ones. Worse: a situation continues where state funds meant to support sustainable transport end up being used essentially to facilitate car travel.  Irish cycle lanes often seem to disappear just where they are needed, with cyclists finding their way blocked by parked cars and traffic jams. Other negative impacts include creating one-way streets so that additional road space can be used for car parking, often this has the practical effect of making it illegal for children to cycle to school.  In some cases local authorities have spent state funds in a way that avoids key aspects of the recommendations behind the project.  We use the example of the Coke zero Bikeshare in Galway. City Bikeshare stations were installed without bringing in the two-way cycling on one-way streets that was part of the proposal.

One way streets croppedGalway City: Galway Cycling Campaign poster illustrating impact of city council practices on child cyclists.

20150927_Market_St_Street_View_with_notesGalway City: Google Street View showing Market St. at the Connacht Tribune Office. The street is one-way going towards the viewer. There is a Bikeshare station on Mainguard Street near St Nicholas Church in the background. The distance to the next Bikeshare station at Newtownsmith is 350m. Because of the one-way street system and a ban on cycling in the pedestrian zone, the return journey from Newtownsmith to Mainguard St. is 1.1km by the northern Route and 2.1 km by the southern route. In the background is St Patricks National School – schoolchildren face similar diversions. The disk parking arrangements with painted parking lanes and ticket machines can be seen.

Budget 2016: Cyclists call for deposit on glass bottles

Final_GCC_logo_7_06_2010

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.

Galway_environmental_road_closures

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