Meeting minutes 11 May 2009

Venue: Galway Social Space, 24 Middle St.

Present: Shane, Tiernan, Indy, Mairéad, Catherine, Robert, Stan.

Apologies: Oisín, Simon, Kristin.

Agenda:
1. National Cycle Policy Framework
2. National Bike Week

Note: The prominence and proximity of National Bike Week (14–21 June 2009) means that it has been given priority over other items, which are either discussed in the context of Bike Week or not discussed at this meeting, with one exception (see (1) below).

1. The Irish government launched its National Cycle Policy Framework some weeks ago. Those at the meeting who had read it or looked through it agreed that it was an impressive and aspirational document, but that it had obvious drawbacks: it contains no figures, no dates, and no deadlines. Whether good intentions can be turned into policy and practice is a big unknown, but the document’s publication is definitely a positive step by the government towards genuine promotion of cycling. Some of the aims described in the document were mentioned and discussed.

2. Ireland’s first ever Bike Week takes place from 14 to 21 June. The Galway Cycling Campaign does not have much time or resources to prepare for it, but is nonetheless determined to do as much as possible for it. Shane and other representatives have been in contact with the City Council and other bodies, but the Volvo Ocean Race has taken centre stage for a while. A comparison with Dublin is instructive, not just in terms of organisational power: Phoenix Park is to be closed to traffic, an event management company has been hired, and a cycling officer has been preparing for Bike Week for months. Our financial and personal resources are more modest.

Tiernan of Green Schools said that the Green Flag has moved on to Travel, so there is now more of an emphasis on cycling and other alternative forms of transport. Cycle parking is to be launched in several schools, and projects such as Cycling On Wednesday (COW) and Beauty and the Bike are also being pushed. He acknowledged that the fear factor – the perception of road danger – was a considerable obstacle for some parents (more on this below). Robert asked whether any teachers were championing cycling.

Wednesday of Bike Week is “Bike to Work” day. Shane pointed out that for many people this is not something that can be decided on or prepared for on a whim, or even a few days beforehand – there needs to be an information campaign, ideally to include the local media, with a few weeks’ lead-in to give potential participants time to get their bikes checked for safety and roadworthiness. Some cyclists might not have cycled for some weeks, months or even years, and will need time to practise basic skills off- and on-road.

The Galway Cycling Map project is coming along well. Stan and Shane gave a quick summary, mentioning the online version being plotted with Google Maps but focusing on the physical maps. Galway City and several county towns have had their streets colour coded as per Warrington’s scheme. Shane and Oisín have sourced map plans and have entered and organised as much data as possible. Some town maps, e.g. Tuam, need local input. Stan has written text for the maps, some of it adapted from the Galway Cycling Campaign’s popular “Share the Road” leaflets.

Sunday 21 June concludes Bike Week, and the Galway Cycling Campaign is hoping to have a family treasure hunt that afternoon. A mostly off-road route has been planned, from Dangan through the university, down the canal, out by the Claddagh and South Park as far as Mutton Island. This event was discussed in detail by all at the meeting, since there was a lot to consider and not a lot of time to prepare. Mairéad asked if this kind of event had been done before. Shane said it hadn’t – at least not in Galway; Tiernan said that something similar had been done in Cork. Apparently Patrick St. was closed off for it.

Catherine suggested having refreshments on offer, especially for the children taking part. This was an excellent idea that hadn’t yet come up. Tiernan spoke of a cyclist with a smoothie-making bike; he also suggested balloons and face painting. All such ideas were enthusiastically received, as they would contribute to the fun and festival feel of the event. Prizes were discussed – different prizes would be needed for different ages. Children under a certain age would need to be accompanied by a parent or adult. But what age?

A code of conduct was proposed, to be signed at registration, containing instructions such as “No racing”, “Yield to pedestrians”, etc. Catherine asked if we had permission from NUIG, liability insurance, etc. Shane said that we needed feedback from NUIG about this as soon as possible, and suggested that Catherine, Mairéad and Indy form a subcommittee to tick the NUIG boxes. Indy thought of someone she could ask about some of these matters. Indy also pointed out that there were tricky parts on the route, such as a narrow pass between rocks along Dangan. Catherine asked whether there was or would be a special map for the treasure hunt.

Catherine said that we should have bikes for people who don’t have bikes, or don’t have usable bikes, or would have difficulty bringing bikes to the event. This was immediately agreed on, and provoked some discussion. Bikes to be used on the day would need to be ordered in advance if possible. Catherine also asked about funding. Shane said that there was national funding, but that locally it was unclear. Financial support from the Council was unpredictable, as last year’s Mobility Week showed.

A list of potential volunteers needs to be drawn up, and an ad hoc media blitz should be done, to include Galway Bay FM, posters, emails, local press and so on. Catherine volunteered to approach GBFM, and there was some discussion about what a daily 2-minute slot could include. A different skill subject each day, for example, or local tips and routes. Robert suggested that a willing radio employee could cycle for a week and report on air each day, hopefully with positive progress regarding his/her skill level and experience on the road. Tiernan concurred, adding that when parents began walking their children to school their first reaction was of fear or apprehension, projected from their in-car perception of traffic danger, but that they soon came to love the walking experience. Tiernan added that the Green Schools could spread the word through participating schools.

It’s obvious that we need volunteers – as many as possible – to help out on the day, as well as official support. Robert said that a competitive approach could help, especially to get businesses involved. Shane agreed but said that time and resources might preclude this. Shane said that he would set up an email list for everyone involved in Bike Week.

Meeting ends.

Meeting minutes 09 February 2009

Venue: Galway Social Space, 24 Middle St.

Present: Shane, Indy, Eoin, Stan

Apologies: Oisín, Simon, Kristin, Urs.

Agenda:
1. Meeting on Seamus Quirke Road and Moneenageisha junctions
2. HSE travel survey
3. National issues (report): National Sustainable Travel Strategy; NRA meeting
4. Cycle training
5. Critical Mass
6. Swiss cycling policy (report)
7. Map project
8. Volvo Race / City Centre Action Plan
9. AOB

Shane read the minutes from the January meeting. Stan proposed them, Shane seconded them (since no-one else was at both the last meeting and the present one), and they were duly adopted.

1. Oisín and Simon had a meeting on 5 February with the City Council Transportation Unit and Tobin Engineers regarding the Seamus Quirke/Bishop O’Donnell Road redevelopment. Tobin Engineers were represented by Tom Cannon and Eddie McGuire, while the Transportation Unit was represented by Martin McElligot (Senior Engineer), Lisa Kealy, and Brian Burke (formerly of Tobin Engineers). Via email Oisín reported that the meeting went well, that he and Simon outlined their concerns and received some clarifications arising from their detailed analysis of the scheme. Their suggestions were listened to, and solutions or compromises were sought where possible, though some problems remain.

There was a detailed discussion of the proposed redevelopment schemes using large printouts that Shane had brought. Indy and Eoin analysed the Moneenageisha plans in some detail, since they both use the junction on a regular basis.

2. A HSE staff travel survey reports that 34% live within 5km of work. The breakdown of travel mode is as follows: 3% cycle to work, 8% walk, 3% take a bus, 6% drive with others, and 80% drive on their own. Shane phoned Laura McHugh and Jacky Jones of the HSE to explain his concerns about the survey type, its results and their implications. Stan said he had started work on a cycling survey for Galway, to be disseminated widely upon completion and used as an ongoing source of data and insight.

3. National issues. The Government’s recent Smarter Travel document was discussed. It aims to prioritise cycling and walking, but there’s a big difference between aspirational talk and progressive action. Galway has been mentioned as a possible site for pilot schemes. Discussion followed about whether and how the Galway Cycling Campaign should respond. Stan said he would compose a ‘cautiously optimistic’ press release.

Shane is to give a presentation to the NRA next Thursday, 12 February. A meeting with the NRA will then follow, in which Shane and other Cyclist.ie representatives will discuss staff training, infrastructure design, village gateway schemes, hard shoulders, speed limits, and so on.

Eoin showed the group his brother’s M.A. thesis, an economic evaluation of cycling policy. It looked very interesting but there was no time to study it in any detail.

4. Shane met representatives of the Green Schools initiative; they discussed insurance, training, etc. In a related matter, the West Coast Wheelers contacted Shane to enquire about training skills.

5. Shane and Oisín joined in the last Critical Mass cycle, and Shane gave a brief report. The weather was awful, but about 18 attended anyway. The group cycled around the town centre and avoided dual carriageways. There was some deliberate car-blocking, a tactic many cyclists consider counterproductive.

6. In Urs’ absence his report on cycling policy in Switzerland was postponed.

7. Shane described the prospective Galway cycling map, including its colour code and other salient features, which are to be based on Cheltenham’s cycling map. Partial funding has been confirmed, which Simon can report on at a later date. Stan reported on a meeting he and Shane held with Dr Valerie Ledwith and Dr Frances Fahy in the Geography department, NUI, Galway. It was a very helpful and constructive meeting, and gave us considerable insight into various aspects of the project by comparing it with the successful Galway Green Map. A meeting is planned with relevant members of the City Council.

8. The Volvo Race is looming, and is being pushed heavily by the local media, but from our point of view resources are limited and we might not be able to capitalise on the event.

9. Eoin attended a talk by Green Party TD John Gormley. He said that the apparent futility of public consultation was a big issue among the attendees. Stan passed round a copy of the Galway Advertiser with a GCC press release and photo of the canal path resurfacing – a positive piece for all concerned.

Meeting ends.

Meeting minutes 9 January 2009

Venue: Galway Social Space, 24 Middle St.

Present: Shane, Oisín, Conor, Urs, Stan.

Apologies: Simon, Indy, Kristin, James, Eoin, Martin, Alan.

Agenda:
1. Doughiska Road update
2. Volvo Race / City centre action plan
3. National issues (report), national cycling strategy, safety audits
4. Cycle training (report)
5. Chamber of Commerce transport initiative
6. Canal works
7. Dublin road
8. Website
9. Map project
10. AOB

Minutes were read from the GCC meetings in October and November 2008. Matters arising: Shane called the RSA re HGV stickers handed this task over to Adam in Cork. The minutes were proposed, seconded and adopted.

Brief introductions were made, there was some informal chat, then Shane asked the first-time attendees what they would like to see out of the GCC. Both Conor and Urs cited practical measures – something hands-on and effective to improve conditions for cyclists in Galway.

1. Oisín met Martin McElligot from the Transportation Unit, who offered to meet every few months. Shane mentioned the current work on the Ballybrit roundabout, where a hole in a wall by the bus stop would greatly convenience pedestrians and anyone getting off the bus at that stop – this would be a low-hassle, easy-win measure.

Urs asked about planning in Galway. Stan mentioned the City Development Plan, that its modest demands are there in writing more than in reality. Oisín and Shane elaborated on this and on the transportation studies. There seems to be little or no real enthusiasm in city management for public transport, still less for walking and cycling. Oisín referred to the bus lane earmarked for the Seamus Quirke Road since 2003. The plan is apparently being sat on.

2. There followed a discussion about the Volvo Race, the cycling map project and local politics. One idea that arose for discussion was the possible conversion of selected one-way streets to two-way for cyclists. Shane proposed to make a list and pick the one-way streets that could be converted with minimal cost and engineering requirements, and maximal benefits to cyclists. Conor suggested that this could be integrated with the map project. The suggestion was well received, though it was acknowledged that much would depend on resources, timing, circumstances and other unknown variables.

Urs asked about lobbying tactics, and how changes are best effected. Oisín explained how the Renmore Road redevelopment signalled a better process of communication between the GCC and the consulting engineers. The engineers approached the GCC and took its ideas on board before finishing the design plan, resulting in a creditable final design.

3. Shane gave a brief report on Cyclist.ie, the new national cycling lobby group. Urs compared Ireland’s cycling situation with that of his native Switzerland. After years of active lobbying there are now five cycling routes across the country, as well as training in schools. Registration and insurance were set through the Ministry of Transport. There followed some discussion about attitudes to cycling and cyclists, the importance of visibility and lights (and Ireland’s legal shortcomings in this matter) and the problem of planning.

The national cycling strategy is set for publication, and what its final version will contain and propose is anyone’s guess. We may need to prepare a comment for a national press release, outlining what we expect to see in the publication to best promote cycling in Ireland. Cyclist.ie should also seek another meeting with Ministers Noel Dempsey and John Gormley, to call for enforcement of speed limits, and (on-road?) cycle training for all schoolchildren.

4. Oisín and Shane received cycle instructor training in Manchester and London, respectively, which qualifies them to train cyclists to the UK national standard. There is to be a follow-up over the coming months, to complete the qualification. Getting insurance may be a sticking point and therefore needs to be assessed. It’s £60 a year in the UK. Their training standard depends heavily on safe mechanics – checking everything on the bike before entering traffic. Oisín said he was eager to start training: it would involve more cycling and positive activity – not the usual relentless politics and bureaucracy.

Shane explained that some non-national roads require a safety audit from the points of view of various road user types, but that assessors are generally ignorant of a cyclist’s perspective. Maybe we could call for engineers to receive cycle training.

5. Oisín will contact Chris Coughlan and Simon to follow up on the Chamber of Commerce transport initiative.

6. The canal path from Dominick Street to University Road has been resurfaced where necessary and looks very well. The new surface is smooth and light-coloured, which increases safety and visibility. Stan has taken photos and is preparing a press release to thank those concerned.

7. At Oisín’s meeting with Martin McElligot of the Transportation Unit, Mr McElligot said that the Moneenageisha roundabout on the Dublin Road was to be removed as part of the Volvo Race city centre action plan.

8. Alan told Shane that the website needed to change hosts, and that the email archive was liable to disappear. Since several of us archive these emails personally, this was considered acceptable.

9. See also 2., above. Simon received €500 from Galway County Council towards the map project. Licensing and copyright issues need to be investigated. We also need to examine our graphic design resources – can we do it ourselves, do we know someone who can help us, or will we need to budget for design?

10. Urs described the cycle training he carries out with children in Ballybane. He is insured by Foróige and has good relations with the local community guard. In Switzerland there are “traffic parks” where school children are trained to cycle. Oisín said there was one in Dublin. It was agreed that they should be fairly straightforward to assemble – a bit of paint and a few props – once the logistics and location were satisfactorily established. Urs offered to assemble relevant information on the Swiss training and legal environments.

Meeting ends.

Meeting minutes 8 December 2008

Venue: Galway Social Space, 24 Middle St.
Present: Marty, Simon, Stan
Agenda:
1. Volvo Race
2. Media
3. National group
4. Greens 30kph presentation
5. Meetings
6. AOB

Minutes of the previous meeting are to be read at the next meeting. Due to the absence of almost everyone, much of this meeting was comprised of informal discussion.

1. Cycling promotion measures for the Volvo Race can be divided into marketing/PR and infrastructural/traffic-management. Guides, maps and routes for cyclists fall under the former, with the maps idea particularly attractive. The latter includes such measures as access to and from the docks by bicycle, conversion of one-way streets to two-way for cyclists. Promote exploration of the city by bike: by removing obstacles, increasing bicycle parking facilities, and increasing safety and convenience of cycling by the usual means.

2. Two print publications were discussed and analysed: the press release in The Sentinel about Cyclist.ie, and John Cunningham’s opinion piece in the City Tribune. The Sentinel gave generous space to a very good and positive piece, while Mr Cunningham’s article was more of a mixed bag, with some fair points but also some mistaken assumptions and misleading conclusions. Simon said he would write a reply, time allowing.

3. Maynooth Cycling Campaign joined the collective. The most recent subject under discussion by Cyclist.ie was ‘operation freeflow’ in Dublin.

4. A representative of the local Green Party asked Simon if he would be interested in giving a presentation to the Party on 12 January on the subject of 30kph zones. There is widespread resistance to 30kph zones in urban areas. Very few drivers obey the 50kph zones in Galway city, for example, and would likely baulk at the idea of further restrictions on their speed. Nonetheless, 30kph restrictions have been successfully implemented in various towns in the UK. Simon reminded Niall O’Brolchain TD of the Green Party’s policy on 30kph zones. From the Galway Cycling Campaign’s point of view, association with any political party is to be handled with caution. Marty wondered if it would be possible to give such a presentation to all the political parties, and Simon added the possibility of giving the presentation to the City Council.

5. Oisín and Bart met Ministers Eamon O’Cuiv and Frank Fahey to discuss the parking levy; the meeting was more of a general discussion about cycling promotion and traffic conditions.

6. Simon contacted a local sergeant to enquire about repeating the bike lights initiative. There was no response. We received 100 armbands from the County Council. The Road Safety Authority, Anchor Safety (Ballybrit) and Super Valu shared a high-visibility vest promotion. Simon contacted Anchor Safety, who said they would be amenable to a joint project with the Galway Cycling Campaign.

Meeting ends.

Meeting minutes 10 November 2008

Venue: Galway Social Space, 24 Middle St.
Present: Shane, Kristin, Sean, Lindsey, Naringa, Marty, Simon, Stan
Agenda:
1. Mobility Week
2. Critical Mass
3. Transport Unit
4. National group
5. Renmore Road
6. Visibility
7. AOB

Minutes of the previous meeting will be read at the next meeting.

Since there were a few new faces, Stan suggested a very brief overview of the group’s activities, which Shane duly supplied.

1. Shane gave a quick recap of Mobility Week, and also delivered some good news: he received a letter confirming funding for John Franklin’s visit to Galway. For a while it had seemed that this would not be forthcoming, so it was gratifying to see that we had not been led astray. It is to be hoped that the City Council will put more planning and effort into Mobility Week next year, in keeping with the County Council and our European neighbours – it is a huge event in many countries, with people actively persuaded to use alternatives to private motor transport.

2. Critical Mass came up for discussion several times, partly because of the successful local event at Halloween. Shane gave a quick report of the event – its route, ambience, and reception from other road users. Kristin clarified where the GCC’s ethos differs from Critical Mass’s, and where they coincide. There was some discussion about the movement’s history, how it differs from place to place, and how its reputation varies among the public and authorities in different cities. This led to some chat about different cycling cultures in places like Denmark and Lithuania, how the law protects cyclists in Germany, and the difficulty of importing infrastructure into a country (like Ireland) that does not train motorists on how to deal with cyclists.

3. Shane met with Galway’s recently developed Transportation Unit, and delivered a presentation on cycling to some of its members (engineers and administration staff). The venue had no internet so Shane couldn’t access the national policy document. He stressed the need for proper bike parking, adding that all sorts of street furniture could be adapted as bike parking. He also spoke about safety issues, cycling lanes, 30kph zones, the Doughiska Road fiasco, and the basics of cycling safety. Regarding safe cycling for children, he advocated ‘nursery’ areas that connect back roads for school routes, and pointed out that closing alleys to cyclists was not a good idea. Marty asked about the Transportation Unit’s brief, its position in Galway’s political structure.

4. Cyclist.ie, the new national cycling lobby group, was officially launched. It was agreed that a press release should be sent to the local media.

5. Shane sent a news story to some of the local media on the Dublin Road development in Renmore. It was printed in the City Tribune.

6. Stan cited last year’s PR on the importance of using bike lights and reflective gear for visibility, and suggested sending another one, given the time of year. Shane told the new faces about our joint safety initiative with the Gardai. Simon said he’d like to redo the safety initiative; all were in favour but this will require more reflective gear to give away.

7. AOB. Kristin was approached by the Young Greens, who are looking for covered bicycle parking. This was generally considered a good idea and an overdue provision. Shane met Tiernan of An Taisce’s Green-Schools programme. They talked about lanes, various cycling promotion schemes, e.g. selecting a school, carrying out a survey, identifying cycling routes to school. Apparently there is funding for parking, and the present focus is on secondary schools. Kristin suggested a cycle-to-school event in the spring. There was some discussion about the benefits of receiving UK certified training. It would give cyclists (like ourselves) more authority when talking to engineers, e.g. when explaining a cyclist’s point of view on a proposed road design, since most engineers do not cycle their own designs. Simon wrote to several officials, in a personal capacity, to see what they thought about the traffic light problem – i.e. that Galway’s traffic lights do not respond to cyclists (he included a photo from Lough Atalia illustrating the problem). He read out their replies. Apparently the city now has 18 signalised junctions.

The meeting was declared over, and a donation was collected for Galway Social Space, who are a pleasure to deal with (and who were kind enough to bring us tea during the meeting).

Meeting Minutes 13 October 2008

Venue: Massimo, Sea Road.

Present: Oisín, Kristin, Shane, Indy, Simon, Stan

Agenda:
1. Mobility Week
2. Signs project
3. Doughiska Road
4. Cycling maps
5. National groups
6. Press & public relations
7. AOB

1. Mobility Week was considered a great opportunity to encourage cycling and to inform people about alternative modes of transportation. Given the high proportion of single-occupant car journeys in Galway and nationwide, every convert to cycling will have a positive effect on the state of traffic.

Shane gave a seminar in NUI, Galway entitled “Tips and Tricks for Bicycle Users in City Traffic”. It was well-attended and provoked some interesting discussion. John Franklin, the renowned cycling advocate and road safety educator, launched the second edition of his book Cyclecraft in the City Library on September 16. Among the attendees were Chris Coughlan of the Galway Chamber, City Councillor Catherine Connolly, and members of the Galway Cycling Campaign and general public. John gave a talk, followed by a Q&A session.

At the monthly meeting it was quickly agreed to send thank-you cards to John and the Library, as well as to Sarah Knight and the City Museum for the parts they played during Mobility Week. Sarah did great work promoting Shane’s presentation in NUI, Galway, and the Museum were courteous and helpful in granting us space for presentations by Shane and Oisín on September 17. Kristin agreed to follow up on this.

Bart gave two bike maintenance workshops during Mobility Week, one in the university and one in Eyre Square. The Eyre Square workshop was combined with a folding bike demo in a marquee organised by the City Council. We also handed out road safety leaflets and bike lights, and we have more of these for the next time. Although the location wasn’t ideal for passing cyclists, Bart was kept busy and the sunshine helped make it a successful and enjoyable afternoon.

Other Mobility Week news: Shane spoke with a member of the Tuam Chamber of Commerce on the subject of one-way streets, specifically the possibility of making them two-way for cyclists in the town. John Franklin met with members of the City Council, the County Council, and the RSA in Ballina. John helped design the UK standard safety course, so his ideas and expertise received interest and appreciation in all quarters. For example, cycle training in Ireland is traditionally off-road, but this doesn’t prepare children and learner cyclists for traffic; John’s system allows them to progress towards traffic situations of growing complexity.

Oisín proposed writing to the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to follow up on their meeting with John Franklin. Shane said that ideally we would be having regular meetings with these bodies, especially the County Council. County councils nationwide are putting together development plans, and we need to be involved. Engineers and planners in the county seem to be quite open to new ideas, especially since Mobility Week.

2. The signs project with the County Council (“Burn fat not oil”; “Commuter not polluter”) is progressing nicely – the signs are completed and are big, clear and durable, sure to catch the public’s eye in their destined towns. Meanwhile, Shane and Oisín are seeking funds to replace the damaged signs in the city. Regarding the city signs, Kristin felt that the text was too small and might warrant a redesign, e.g. with a landscape layout rather than portrait. This would make them slightly more hazardous, but some kind of redesign was not ruled out.

3. Oisín went to the Doughiska Road residents association meeting, and he and Indy both attended the launch, where Oisín conveyed the Galway Cycling Campaign’s problems with the scheme. Oisín and Shane had a meeting with Minister Eamon Ó’Cuív, Joe Tansey, Ciaran Hayes, Mary Leahy and Michael Crowe. Shane and Oisín explained how the redevelopment design would endanger cyclists and pedestrians alike. Minister Ó’Cuív showed very good knowledge of the issues being discussed, backing the Galway Cycling Campaign’s positions and challenging Mr Hayes. The latter, unfortunately, was not budging, though he may consider minor changes. Joe Tansey said that the best way to make roads safer for cyclists was to have more cyclists on the roads; maybe John Franklin’s wisdom is finally spreading to officials.

Shane launched a legal complaint against the lead engineer on the Doughiska Road Safety Audit. This audit is considered a farce, with 12 of its 15 comments partly or totally about cycling, but without any understanding of cyclists’ concerns or needs on the road. And there was little or nothing about pedestrians, bus users or motorised vehicle users. The proposed signs for the road are the mixed-use pedestrian/bicycle signs, and under Irish law compulsory use rests on “cycle track” signs. At the meeting with the Minister, councillors and city officials, Shane was challenged about the legal action, and he pointed out that he would much rather not have to go through the ordeal, and that a little consultation early on would save a lot of people a lot of bother. As Oisín put it, the cycling group members would much rather be out promoting cycling. There was also some discussion about what cyclists we represented, and about the need to address cycling in the context of sustainable transport. In any event the Doughiska Road redevelopment scheme is to go ahead and will soon begin.

4. There was some discussion about the cycling maps for Galway, e.g. who they could benefit, what symbols we could use to denote what facilities, and where funding was being sought.

5. Shane and Stan gave a quick update on the national group (Cyclist.ie) – basically, things are progressing fine, a couple of press releases are being prepared, and the consensus policy paper is being distributed to various authorities. The RSA approached us for ideas on a draft warning sticker to be placed on the back of heavy goods vehicles. Stan had some problems with the basic layout, while Adam from the Cork group contributed his own design, but the important thing is that we were consulted in good faith and will respond in kind. The sticker needs to get the message of danger across as quickly and unambiguously as possible, with little or no English required to interpret this message.

6. Press and public relations. Kristin suggested a press release on the economic benefits of cycling, which would be a timely push given the current economic climate. The cost of fuel is very high, something City Bus have made use of in their ads. For families with two or more cars, motorised transport costs are likely to keep rising. Stan added that the cost and hassle of parking would continue to affect motorists – another angle for encouraging more cycling.

Indy mentioned Greg Power at the university Buildings Office: another possible source for collaboration. The bike lights initiative with the Guards was discussed, and all meeting attendees agreed that it would be worth doing again. We should try to get more armbands and reflective vests. According to Indy, the reflective jackets project in the university is still ongoing. Kristin said that the timing was right because of the dark evenings. Indy remembered Simon’s press release last year calling for cyclists to be well lit at night – time for a similar call, perhaps. Indy asked about overtaking on the left. Stan said that as far as he knew, if was a legal grey area. Shane affirmed this and expanded on the subject. Indy had been knocked off her bicycle twice in recent months, and wanted to establish where the responsibility lay, so she recounted the incidents and we discussed them. Oisín reported receiving verbal abuse from a van driver (“Get off the road!”). It was recommended to report all such incidents to the Gardai.

7. AOB. Simon proposed the idea of a leaflet for new members, to introduce them to the group and its basic aims. Stan suggested including the Hierarchy of Provision as described in the national document. Shane met with Jeremy Franco to discuss cycling provisions during next year’s Yacht race stopover in Galway. Jeremy wants to push cycling, and Shane advised him on how to approach it. Simon suggested a yearly work plan to help plan for major events such as Mobility Week and Road Safety Week. The latter was announced quite suddenly and the cycling advocacy community were not exactly inundated with invitations. Eoin is looking into Irish Rail matters and will report back. There was some discussion about how to distribute material, online and offline. A wiki might be a good way to do it, and it’s something we’ve touched on before. The idea of business cards for the Galway Cycling Campaign was put forward and roundly supported. Stan said he’d look into free services online.

Meeting ends.

2008 Annual General Meeting minutes

Venue: Galway Social Space, 24 Middle St.

Time and date: 7.00–9.00 p.m., 8 September 2008

Present: Shane, Martin, James, Simon, Eoin, Stan

Apologies: Stéphane, Oisín, Indiana, Kristin, Cormac, Bart…

Shane handed out minutes from last year’s AGM and read them to the group. Stan proposed them, Simon seconded them and they were duly adopted. Shane then passed around a list of activities undertaken by the group since last year’s AGM. These were discussed more-or-less sequentially.

Seamus Quirke Road redevelopment saga: after a contentious public hearing, An Bord Pleanála forced a redesign of the Seamus Quirke Road, which was also cyclist- and pedestrian-hostile and full of traffic management problems. Shane lodged a formal complaint (in a personal capacity) with the Association of Consulting Engineers, but they perfunctorily rejected it.

On the other side of town, the Galway Cycling Campaign revealed the Doughiska Road redevelopment to be overtly cyclist-hostile, not least in its use of substandard cycle lanes. Simon told the group how over sixty ‘problem points’ were identified and how cyclists using the road would have to yield right of way every few yards. After lots of lobbying the project stalled, but despite – or because of – a dubious and unsatisfactory road safety audit, the controversial plans were adopted by the Council.

The Peter Bradley Foundation campaigned for the use of cycling helmets, using arguments based on dubious claims about their safety benefits. The Galway Cycling Campaign ran a counter campaign, using up-to-date international research to expose the weaknesses of the pro-helmet case, and to show how futile and counter-productive it would be to enforce helmet use for anyone except children. Martin said that Dr Ian Walker’s study made sense; James had also read it and found it interesting. Stan described the group’s stance unofficially as ‘pro-choice’. If someone wants to wear a helmet, no problem, but they should be aware of the implications for their safety and for changes in motorist behaviour. Cycling communities around the world tend to agree that making helmets mandatory is out of the question. A quick show of hands revealed that no AGM attendees were regular helmet wearers. The initial pro-helmet story did not gather much momentum but is likely to arise again. Recent articles in the Irish Times were so level-headed and reasonable as to suggest that good sense is breaking out in spite of the extensive misinformation, confusion and paranoia surrounding helmets and cyclist safety.

In December a Christmas newsletter was produced and distributed. Simon collected and edited a variety of interesting material, and Stan wrote a short piece on the joys and less-publicized benefits of cycling.

Bus lanes on the outbound Dublin Road is a complex issue that depends on several variables, some of them interrelated, including lane width, driver behaviour (and occasional intimidation), lane use by taxis with our without fares, road gradient and overall road width. Given the available space, compromise is inevitable, but careful attention to the facts and to best practice can help create a road that works reasonably well for everyone, without endangering vulnerable road users. ‘Level 1’ cyclists need to be accommodated insofar as possible – Shane said that the last time he cycled in Dublin, he was hit by a taxi in the bus lane. Eoin added that in his experience of cycling in Dublin, he had more problems with taxi drivers than bus drivers. The GCC made a submission on the Dublin Road design and were gratified to see that the redesign seemed to take our concerns into account.

Also in January (2008) was a planning meeting, which was generally considered a useful exercise that helped us to arrive at a mission statement of sorts, and to pick our fights more judiciously, among other things.

The following month saw our successful bike lights initiative with the Garda Síochána. Although the traffic corps were originally to be our partners in the scheme, this was changed to the community guards, who accompanied us by bike on three teams to advise cyclists on being visible at night. The guards stopped people cycling without lights or reflective gear, and informed them of the law, while we handed out reflective vests, reflective straps and safety leaflets. The initiative didn’t get much exposure in the media, but James said he first heard about the group through this event. Simon said he hopes to repeat it.

The Small Crane redevelopment, which was proposed as a “child-friendly” scheme, would have extended a one-way system making it illegal for children to cycle a short distance to school, or up and down outside their homes on quiet residential streets. (They could cycle legally to school only by taking a long detour on busy roads.) One-way systems are inherently cycling-hostile, since they restrict access and encourage high traffic speeds and flow. The Galway Cycling Campaign discussed these issues with Small Crane community members, then both groups lodged objections and lobbied councillors. The proposals were subsequently scrapped (but for how long?).

Two members of the Galway Cycling Campaign were guests at the Belfast AGM of the Cyclists’ Touring Club, a huge organisation of cyclists who focus on recreational cycling but who have also campaigned. Shane was made the Republic of Ireland representative, and had good discussions and made good contacts on the night. Shane also met the author of the Warrington Cycle Campaign’s Crap Cycle Lanes book, and was contacted by the Galway Educate Together National School, who wanted advice on bicycle parking. Kristin helped the school with this venture.

Shane summarised the national cycling group situation. Politically there needs to be a national consensus on policy, so the GCC joined forces with cycling advocacy groups in Cork, Dublin, Limerick, Skerries and Waterford to write a consensus policy document. This was written and reworked over about six months, then submitted to transport minister Noel Dempsey in May 2008. It is considered to be a live document, subject to periodic revision. Cycling community feedback will be sought before the next published revision. In June there was an informal meeting with representatives of the national group – attending were Adam D’Arcy (Cork), James Nix (Limerick), Robert Fitzsimons (Dublin), Stan Carey, Oisin O’Nidh and Shane Foran (Galway). It was a relaxed and productive introduction and brainstorm. The attendees came out strongly in support of “Cyclist.ie” as the working name for the group. (See holding page.)

Also in May 2008, Simon gave a presentation at the Galway Chamber of Commerce’s first Traffic & Transportation forum, a meeting of interested stakeholders to examine the traffic situation in Galway. Chris Coughlan of the Galway Chamber has been helpful and accommodating, interested particularly in “quick wins” – changes that can be realised in the short-term. These matters were again discussed in a meeting with Mr Coughlan in June 2008.

Renmore Park was redeveloped with a new one-way system, to prevent ‘rat running’ by cars avoiding traffic jams on the main road. As with the Small Crane proposals, the new system makes it illegal for some schoolchildren to cycle short distances outside their homes. Oisín rang the roads department several times and visited the office in person, but received no response.

A series of letters was published in the local newspapers on the subject of promenade/pavement cycling.

Contact was made with the Parks Department, who are amenable to meeting for general discussion. They have no responsibility for road design but they could help with between-roads design – i.e. with permeability. They have a general principle of considering cyclists in their plans, e.g. by leaving gaps for shortcuts between and within housing estates. The usefulness of such provisions shouldn’t be underestimated, e.g. for school routes that avoid main roads. Some alleys harbour anti-social elements and behaviour but this is not an argument for their being closed off; in fact, cyclists can provide a kind of passive security in these areas.

More meetings: Shane and Oisín met Frank Fahey TD where they found out that the QBN (Quality Bus Network) Office are to advise Galway City Council on its bus plans. The QBN designs in Dublin are demonstrably hostile to cyclists. The minister (who chairs the Joint Committee on Transport) is considering a series of seminars, one of which could focus on cycling. A delegation from the Galway Cycling Campaign met with Harcourt Developments to discuss the Headford Road framework plan. The plans need work, but this was a very positive meeting. Cormac also met with Tobin engineers to discuss the plans.

A letter was published in the local newspapers on the proposed Galway City outer bypass. Martin spoke with Professor Lewis Lesley, an international expert on transport, who said that such a road should be of an ordinary type, rather than the planned motorway or dual carriageway. There followed a short discussion about the bypass, about whom it would benefit and whether such benefit would make up for the environmental damage. It was generally agreed that a bypass would encourage more driving – not least of private cars – at a time when alternative modes should be encouraged.

Treasurer’s report: the treasurer was out of the country but there was little to report anyway – no financial activity except web hosting, and Alan was also absent and so unable to report on that. The coffers have about €3,500 total, which is earmarked as a grant from the HSE for the signs project. The County Council recently approved this project and will put up the signs once we’ve delivered them along with a list of locations. Shane said that he got a quote for production of the signs, and passed around copies of their design.

Resignation of officers: Cormac (in absentia) resigned as treasurer, Oisín (in absentia) resigned as secretary, Shane resigned as chairperson, and Simon resigned as PRO. Election of new committee: Shane nominated Simon for PRO, Stan seconded this, there were no dissenters, and Simon was duly re-elected PRO. Simon nominated Stan for treasurer, James seconded, Stan was elected treasurer. Stan nominated Simon for secretary, Shane seconded, Simon was elected secretary. Simon nominated Oisín (in absentia) as membership secretary, Shane seconded, Oisín was elected membership secretary. Stan nominated Shane as chairperson, Martin seconded, Shane was re-elected chairperson.

Lots of events, many of them with a focus on cycling, are planned for European Mobility Week. These have been organized by the Galway Cycling Campaign, the City and County Councils, and various other parties. There are presentations, workshops, meetings, a book launch and much more. The book launch is John Franklin’s acclaimed Cyclecraft (second edition), 20 copies of which are to be made available in local libraries. Shane is to give talks on cycling skills, safety and promotion, at NUI, Galway and at the City Museum. It promises to be a busy and fruitful week.

There was a short discussion about the Doughiska Road redevelopment. Shane gave an overview for those unfamiliar with it, and there followed a debate over whether it was worth the group’s ongoing involvement. Shane is to meet with a barrister later in the month, since the redevelopment design contravenes the City Development Plan. There is already a lot of public frustration over the project’s delay, but since it is demonstrably unsafe there are arguments both for and against its obstruction. A meeting has been planned for October 6 with Minister Éamon Ó Cuív and Ciaran Hayes.

Other matters, in brief: an article in the City Tribune detailed proposals for opening up railway lines to cyclists. There has also been a proposal to develop the Clifden Road as a cycling route into the west. It was agreed to write a press release or a letter to the parties involved to express our general interest in and agreement with the proposals. The Galway Cycling Campaign applied via LA21 to fund cycling maps for Galway, based on the Cheltenham map design. Iarnród Éireann pulled the plug on bike carriage in new trains and, unlike modern rail companies around the world, seem determined to avoid any integration with cycling.

Meeting ends.

Meeting minutes, August 2008

Galway Cycling Campaign monthly meeting, 11 August 2008.

Venue: NUI, Galway.

Present: Shane, Cormac, Stan, Annabel, Tiernan, Martin, Simon, Oisín

Agenda:
1. Meeting with Frank Fahey TD
2. Correspondence from Éamon Ó Cuív TD
3. Green Schools Initiative
4. National group news
5. Mobility Week
6. Speeding
7. Doughiska Road
8. Renmore Park
9. Cycle parking
10. Chamber of Commerce initiative
11. AGM
12. AOB

1. Shane and Oisín met briefly with Frank Fahey, who offered to put the group in contact with the Quality Bus Network. The QBN will be advising Galway City Council on Galway’s bus network. Mr Fahey asked if cycling was dangerous, and Shane replied that speeding had to be reduced. They had a short discussion about bicycle parking. The meeting was too short to convey the complexity of the issues – more time and some graphics would be needed for this – but it was a useful meeting all the same.

2. Through correspondence with Éamon Ó Cuív it has emerged that Iarnród Éireann are offering 3 bikes per 3 carriages or 6 per 6 (i.e. 6 per train). The group considered this disappointing, at best, especially in the wake of Bord Fáilte’s recent publication on cycling tourism. Simon said that it was not in keeping with the need to promote sustainable transport – that facilities for bikes at stations had to be improved (and in many cases developed at all), etc. Shane remarked that Germany has set a target of bike capacity for 10% of all passengers. Since IE plan to increase the frequency of train journeys, many trains would have ample room for bikes along most of their distance, except nearing Dublin. Oisín suggested sending a letter to communicate some of this.

Another letter from Mr Ó Cuív acknowledged receipt of the national group policy paper, which has been sent to the Sustainable Travel & Transport public consultation. Oisín thanked the minister for representing us in this matter.

3. Annabel gave the group a clear and detailed overview of the Green Schools scheme in Ireland, where 3000 schools have registered and there are 1500 flags already flying. . Schools are self-selecting and some have been participating for several years now. Travel is one of the themes on the list – they usually arrive at cycling after the first three steps – hence her interest in the cycling group’s views. She described the structure and contents of the initiative, the variations between schools and projects, and some of the results so far, e.g. bicycle parking installed or increased, schools reporting significant decreases in car use and increases in walking and cycling students. (One school in Tallaght saw cycling numbers go from 1% to 7% – a 700% increase, as PRO Simon immediately spun it!) Events, competitions, surveys and various activities are undertaken. Cycling training is carried out with kids from 3rd class up, and the project personnel are looking into accreditation. They have also approached universities and colleges, to assess the potential for shared schemes. Several group members attending the meeting expressed their thanks and pleasure at what the Green Schools project has already achieved – it was roundly considered an extremely positive and encouraging initiative.

In a recent meeting with Frank Fahey, Shane conveyed the importance of permeability in road and urban design, to help younger children cycle to school without having to use any or many main roads. The links and shortcuts that create this permeability are being closed down due to concerns over safety, loitering and such. Annabel said that soft measures (like parking and training) rather than major infrastructure are the remit of the Green Schools project. Shane explained how the campaign group spends a lot of time and energy ‘fire fighting’ (reacting to e.g. a misleading bulletin about helmet-conferred safety, or to another unsafe redevelopment design) and would like to get more involved, where possible and appropriate, with initiatives like the schools project, e.g. by offering advice on alternative routes. One of our members, Kristin, has been helping a local school with bike parking. At this point a map of Galway was studied as we examined several routes in the context of the discussion.

4. Shane and Stan briefly updated the group on the nascent national group, the consensus document and the proposed names. No major updates, except that Cyclist.ie has been generally accepted as a name, probably with a short unofficial description.

5. There are no plans to close any roads for European Mobility Week (16–22 September). Nonetheless it’s shaping up to be an eventful and productive week. Shane said that Cathy Joyce would help put PR in place for any viable projects we bring to her attention. Elsewhere, Galway City Library plans to launch 20 copies of a revised edition of John Franklin’s acclaimed Cyclecraft. Oisín is seeking funding for the maps project: Galway maps to be revised, like Cheltenham’s, with cycling routes, school routes, short cuts, radial distances, colour schemes etc. Oisín, Shane and Simon presented the project basics, then there was discussion about costs, copyright and other issues. Annabel expressed strong interest in the idea – it would be of obvious benefit to schools. It would also greatly help workers, commuters, students, or anyone living within five or ten kilometres of a daily commute.

6. Martin thinks that speeding is the main obstacle to making cycling safer. Driver behaviour and traffic delays have a lot to do with it – people are so frequently stuck and frustrated that they often accelerate and speed whenever possible, to make up for what they perceive to be lost time. Martin reported that he avoids the so-called cycle lanes on Western Distributor Road because of the detritus. Even the speed limit signs are small and sometimes difficult to read. Enforcement needs to be made easier. Are cameras the solution, or part of it? Simon suggested a community speed watch or similar approach – something that requires practical action. Martin said that Sligo has electronic displays showing driver speed. Another option: track red-light breaking by all road users at a junction, or similar focused traffic surveys – these kinds of statistics are not officially available, and we need facts and figures to bring to politicians. Shane said he discussed a cycling survey with Chris Coughlan. It could be useful for targeting schools for the Green Schools initiative.

7. A meeting is planned for October 6th with Michael Crowe, Joe Tansey, Ciaran Hayes and Éamon Ó Cuív to discuss the Doughiska Road redevelopment saga.

8. Oisín said that the Renmore Park redevelopment could relate to the Green Schools initiative. A one-way system was introduced last May to prevent ‘rat running’ by traffic looking to avoid other traffic. But this made it illegal for some children to cycle short distances on their (safer) way to school, forcing them onto the main road if they want to journey legally. Again, this was discussed with reference to the map, for a clearer understanding of the problem.

9. It seems a deal has been struck on bike parking – something to keep an eye on, since the City Development Plan specifies locations for bike parking, and this provision can’t simply be replaced by a private scheme.

10. Shane and Simon gave a quick overview of the Chamber of Commerce Traffic and Transportation forum, at whose first meeting Simon gave a presentation on the benefits of cycling and how it can be promoted in Galway. Shane suggested holding the presentation again for the general public during Mobility Week, to bring the issues to a wider audience.

11. Next meeting is the AGM, to be held next month (September).

12. Cormac is to move out of the country, so his position as treasurer is open.
There are new bus lanes on the N17. Their width needs to be measured.

Meeting ends.

Meeting Minutes 14th April 2008

Venue: IT204 in the IT Building NUIG, Galway

Present: Shane, Stan, Oisin, Simon
Apologies: Kristin, Cormac

Agenda:
1. Small Crane Consultation
2. Headford Road framework plan
3. Query from NRA re Bike Paths on the N6
4. Cork Cyclist Death/Peter Bradley Foundation intervention
5. Doughiska Road
6. Galway Educate Together – Bike Parking Query
7. Chamber of Commerce Initiative
8. Irish Rail Bike Carriage Removal
9. National policy paper.
10. Name and structure of national group
11. National Group Co-coordinator funding application
12. Oisin on TV
13. Prom Truck Ban
14. AOB

1. Small Crane Consultation
Four separate submissions sent in regarding the Small Crane by GCC members. Simon noted that “Traffic Measuring System” put in place in the small crane to measure traffic volumes? Why? After the plans have been drawn up?
In the local media; Galway Bay FM, Galway Advertiser, Galway Voice had pieces regarding the local opposition to the plan.

2. Headford Road framework plan
Cormac had meeting with One of the Engineering Groups involved in the Framework to review their plans for cyclists. Met John Colleran of Tobin Engineers. No detailed information as Cormac not in attendance. Meeting lasted an hour and a half. Shane sent email around regarding this framework plan as he had attended the Council SPC Transportation meeting where this was launched also he attended the Menlo Meeting for the public (but full plans were not released at this meeting).

3. Query from NRA re Bike Paths on the N6
Lucy Curtis wants to meet us to discuss Bike Paths on the N6.
30th of April is date penciled in for this meeting. Wait and see – no concrete date is set.

4. Cork Cyclist Death
Shane created Press release to counter the unfortunate Peter Bradley Foundation press release. Either Simon or Shane will release/publish.

5. Doughiska Road
Shane getting some legal advice on this.

6. Galway Educate Together – Bike Parking Query
Kristin is meeting the Galway Educate Together(http://www.getns.ie) on the 21st of April. They require advice on Bike Parking.

7. Chamber of Commerce Initiative
Galway Cycling Campaign have been invited to attend the Galway Chamber of Commerce transportation forum. More information to follow in emails from Simon who is the contact on this initiative.

8. Irish Rail Bike Carriage Removal
Shane had 30secs on Keith’s Morning Radio Show on Galway Bay FM regarding the reduced capacity on the New Inter City Trains for Bikes.
Also piece in the Galway Voice regarding this. Sources used was GCC and Ireland West Tourism.

9. National policy paper.
This document has been created by the Campaign Groups across the country. Still not released yet. Will have separate GCC meeting on this to Iron Out and Edit. Simon, Shane and Stan are leading this project within the GCC and further email will be sent out with Time and Venue for this
10. Name and structure of national group
Idea’s for a National Group name. Once again this will be discussed at the separate meeting and within email for idea’s re structure, name and website.
11. National Group Co-coordinator funding application
Jame’s Nicks from the Limerick Cycling Campaign and Shane have applied for funding from the “Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Fund” http://www.irlfunds.org/ for 40k for 2 Years. This funding will help in setting up the National Group.
12. Oisin on TV
Oisin was on “Pobal” – email was sent out with link to the Website.
Piece was filmed on the Western Distributor Road with Micheal
Ó Domhnaill(presenter) for the Galway Cycling Campaign.
Had a 3/4 minute slot on Pobal Sunday 6th of April at
17h25 on RTE One television.
Basically brought up dangers of Roundabouts, Slower Traffic Limits in
the City, certain Cycle Lanes/Paths in the city being waste of Money
+ that money would be better spent on more Bike parking and that cycle lanes had a place like at traffic lights in the City Center.

13. Prom Truck Ban
Press release issued by Simon. Oisin, Stan, Shane and Simon drafted release.
Release will be published on GCC Website shortly

14 AOB
April the 26th Shane and Mike(from DCC) are going up to Belfast to meet with Cycle Northern Ireland.

Meeting Minutes 09 June 2008

Venue: Bun Caise, Galway

Present: Shane, Cormac, Stan, Bart, Simon

Agenda:
1. National policy paper.
2. Name and structure of national group
3. Headford Road framework plan
4. Chamber of Commerce
5. Doughiska Road
6. Small Crane
7. Bike parking
8. AGM
9. Freiburg
10. AOB

1. Shane and Stan brought the group up to date on the national cycling promotion policy paper, to which groups in Galway, Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Skerries put their names. In late May 2008 a copy was sent to Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey. Mr Dempsey, who in February launched a public consultation process on sustainable transport, has since acknowledged receipt of the submitted cycling document. Once a few minor updates have been applied (e.g. more photos, removal of a typo), the plan is to proceed with more widespread circulation.

2. There has been quite a lot of discussion, both within and between the various member groups, about naming the national cycling advocacy group. Shane, Cormac, Stan, Bart and Simon all offered ideas and opinions at the meeting. A decision has yet to be made at national level – the choices have been narrowed down, mostly to catchy one-word names and more descriptive three-word names. Among the latter, ‘cyclists’ is considered better than ‘cycling’; ‘alliance’ possibly better than ‘organisation’, ‘federation’ or ‘union’. It was agreed to restart email discussion on this.

Settling on a national group structure could be more challenging. There may be difficulties reconciling local groups’ identities, organisation, operations etc. with a national umbrella group. Time and money are also potential knots. The group’s identity and structure need to be such that it can attract funding, e.g. for someone working full-time, because daytime availability will be required. Simon mentioned international models, such as the Cycling Promotion Alliance in Australia, which might be worth studying. Shane cited a comparable situation in Ireland some years ago, when the Irish Road Haulage Association was set up by the Dept. of Transport so that the Government would have a representative from the hauliers to talk to. It was agreed that we would approach Minister Éamon Ó Cuív for advice on what criteria would be required.

3. Another public consultation on the Headford Road framework plan is to be held on Wednesday next (11-06-2008) from 18.00–20.00 in the Menlo Park Hotel. Shane has been in contact with Harcourt Developments regarding their proposals. Cormac met with Tobin Consulting Engineers (one of the six consultants involved in the redevelopment plans) to convey our side of things – they were working off previous plans.

4. Simon and Oisín gave a presentation at the first Galway Chamber Traffic and Transportation Forum, which was held on 20 May 2008 and was attended by a wide variety of representatives and stakeholders from different trade, transport and political bodies. There they met with Chris Coughlan of the Chamber of Commerce, who asked for ‘quick wins’. Simon and Oisín are getting their proposal ready and are then to meet with Ciarán Hayes.

5. Shane had a detailed discussion with Chris Coughlan on the Doughiska Road redevelopment issues. The matter was considered to be more involved and contentious than a ‘quick win’ type. Simon sent Mr Coughlan some photographic presentations to help illustrate our problems with the Doughiska Road redevelopment designs.

6. The Small Crane ‘enhancement’ plan was officially rejected by the Strategic Policy Committee. Local residents were strongly opposed to the plan and submitted an eight-point plan of their own, which planning officials will take back to the drawing board before the next SPC meeting in September. The eight-point plan included improved drainage, community gardens, collapsible bollards, ‘No Parking’ signs in certain areas, putting power cables underground, re-laid footpaths, wall and raised garden bed around the Small Crane weighing scales, and speed bumps on St. Joseph’s Avenue. There is an outstanding question about the traffic scheme in the approved plan for the forthcoming hotel – Cormac volunteered to visit the planning office to check this.

7. Liam Codd, founder of West Ireland Cycling, spoke with Galway City Council about bike parking. Although Galway has been waiting years to see that the money already earmarked for bike parking is duly spent, Mr Codd’s proposals seem to have been received favourably. We don’t know what kind of parking facilities are being discussed or planned, but it sounds generally positive and we hope that all parties involved are aware of local needs and international best practice.

8. It was provisionally agreed to hold our AGM in September. Incidentally, this coincides with planned enforcement of the recent legislation on provisional driving licences.

9. The Galway City Tribune of 6 June 2008 reported on a delegation to Freiburg, Germany: ‘Galway business leaders view the Freiburg model of sustainable green development’; ‘Galway delegation sees lessons from German transport model’. Freiburg has had a car-free city centre since 1993 and also has 500km of cycle paths, some of which have a bad reputation among cyclists. Simon said he would get in touch with Philip McNamara, CEO of Inspire Nation and one of the business leaders among the Freiburg delegation. Simon showed the group a Berlin city map with some cycle paths and trails marked “not suitable for cyclists” – something that could be said for many if not most of the segregated facilities in Galway.

10. AOB. Shane did a presentation on cycling for Hewlett-Packard. Cormac asked whether the levy for absent cycle parking was being applied. Bart offered to attend the Galway City Community Forum meeting on the following night (10 June).

Meeting ends.

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