Following wide engagement with residents, communities and businesses across the city, Galway Cycling Campaign has made a 20 page submission of specific suggestions to #ChangeOurStreets to improve mobility in Galway City during coronavirus.
Kevin Jennings, chairperson of Galway Cycling Campaign, said: “We received over 100 suggestions from people who live, work, study and trade in our city. We have reviewed, collated, filtered and reduced these to 60+ suggestions that could be quickly and cheaply implemented as per our city’s Roadmap and Framework mobility plans for Covid-19.”
Galway Cycling Campaign is backing local businesses as Galway city knuckles down to kick-start the economy again.
The movement to ‘Change Our Streets’ is moving up a gear to make Galway city more family friendly, as Covid-19 movement restrictions begin to ease. Chairperson Kevin Jennings welcomed the publication of the City Council’s mobility plan, and sent a letter to the City Mobility Team on Monday to wish them every success.
He said he is delighted that the two principles of our ‘Change Our Streets’ initiative for More Space and Less Speed are at the heart of our city’s plans to get Galway moving and thriving again.
People on bikes spend 40% more in shops
Transport for London research, 2018
He pointed out that Galway Chamber and Westend Traders are two of the business supporters that recognise the value of people cycling.
“Customers using their bike to go shopping is good for business. People on bikes spend 40% more in shops than people driving, according to 2018 research from Transport for London (TfL).”
Open up streets for people on bikes and people walking through ‘Share With Care’ (‘Roinn le Cúram’ ) zones
Martina Callanan, spokesperson for Galway Cycling Campaign, said, “Research shows that people on bikes tend to shop local and are loyal to local traders. The social media hashtag #ShopByBike shows people doing their weekly shop and cycling home again. We have seen baskets and panniers packed with nappies, spuds, and all the usual items.”
Cycle parking outside shops helps keep shopfronts visible. Having a bike stand outside means space for potentially ten customers right outside the door. Per square metre, cycle parking delivers five times higher retail spend than the same area of car parking, according to European research.
Galway Cycling Campaign says that the city centre could open up streets for people on bikes and people walking through ‘Share With Care’ (‘Roinn le Cúram’ ) zones. Dublin City Council installed its first ‘Share With Care’ zone last autumn and cities like Norwich in the UK have used ‘Share With Care’ to revitalise their city centres.
“‘Share With Care’ gives priority to people walking and cycling. We can design our city to make it easier and safer for people of all ages and all abilities to come into town to shop, to eat, to visit a church, and do everyday business,” Ms Callanan said.
He said: “We are delighted that the two principles of the ‘Change Our Streets’ initiative for More Space and Less Speed are at the heart of our city’s plans to get Galway moving and thriving again as restrictions begin to lift.
We outlined our desire for More Space and Less Seed in our Open Letter to Galway City Council Chief Executive on Wednesday 7 May 2020, which was co-signed by over 200 organisations and individuals, including many representatives of local businesses, community groups, sports clubs and health professionals.”
He continued: “We are heartened to hear that the Framework will be a live and dynamic document, and that it prioritises active travel modes of cycling and walking. Walking and cycling are fast and affordable ways to travel short distances, and exercise is vital for our mental and physical health during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Martina Callanan, spokesperson for Galway Cycling Campaign, said: “We welcome the statement that Community Wardens will place ‘particular emphasis…on enforcement of illegal and unauthorised parking that impairs mobility, such as parking on footpaths, yellow lines, loading bays, taxi and bus designated areas and disabled parking bays.’ There can be no tolerance of inconsiderate behaviour which places cocooners, parents with buggies and small children at risk of stepping out into the road instead of continuing on footpaths.
She added: “We welcome the provision of extra bike parking and expect all will be safe, secure and sheltered. People on bikes are good for local business. Having a bike parking outside your shop or business means space for potentially ten customers right outside your door, and bike parking helps keep your shopfront visible.”
The letter to the City Mobility Team pointed out that mobility obstacles and touch points should be eliminated where possible, for example kissing gates, beg buttons at pedestrian crossings, and narrow stiles.
Actions to reduce speed should also consider measures to temporarily alter road design and provide traffic calming.
Kevin Jennings concluded: “We look forward to engaging with the City Mobility Team in the weeks and months ahead to create a safer Galway for all ages and all abilities during coronavirus. As they start their work this week we say, Pedal on!”
As part of the Change Our Streets initiative, we are hoping to gather as many suggestions as possible from people looking to make changes to Galway City to make 2m social distancing easier, safer and nicer in Residential, Recreational, and Retail areas.
Please fill out the following form if you would like to see some specific changes…
Galway Cycling Campaign leads a call to change the streetscape of Galway city to make it more conducive to social distancing over the duration of the Covid-19 crisis.
More than 80 people participated in an online meeting on Tuesday, organised by Galway Cycling Campaign when more than 100 ideas were generated to ‘Change Our Streets’.
More space and less speed are the two key principles to ‘Change Our Streets’ during the Covid-19 pandemic, expressed in an open letter last week to Galway City Council Executive Brendan McGrath and co-signed by over 220 organisations and individuals.
The alliance would like to start a creative conversation with the Council to make public spaces safer for people of all ages and all abilities to maintain the two metre social distance for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency this summer.
Molly Byrne, Professor of Health Psychology at NUI Galway, and member of the COVID-19 National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET ) Behavioural Change Subgroup said, “People’s environments need to enable them to change their behaviours to adhere to social distancing in the months ahead. Urban design is critical to this.
“Choices that the City Council makes can encourage these new behaviours we need to adapt in order to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Reallocating road space to people walking and cycling and reducing speed limits during the coronavirus pandemic are quick and cheap ways that Galway city can help keep people in good physical and mental health.”
Eighty people joined an online public information meeting, including city councillors Eddie Hoare (FG ), John Connolly (FF ) and Owen Hanley (SD ). County councillors Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF, Athenry ) and Alastair McKinstry (GP, Moycullen ) also attended, representing people from Galway’s commuter towns.
People suggested removing kissing gates, installing traffic calming measures, and turning rat-runs into local access roads only, among other specific ideas.
Kevin Jennings, chairperson of Galway Cycling Campaign said that city life will only begin to thrive again if people feel safe to keep social distance. “Small changes to streets and roads will help people feel confident to come into the city centre again. There’s lots of low-hanging fruit, such as pedestrianising areas like Raven’s Terrace, and using orca wands to protect pop-up cycle lanes as has been done in Dublin.”
Sean Leonard, PRO, Galway Urban Greenway Alliance, said he believes a temporary segregated cycle way along the Salthill Promenade is tantalisingly close. “The newly-erected, unsightly and dangerous barriers and cones along the Prom need to be replaced with planters and bollards. A three metre wide two- way cycle path would facilitate the many children and families in getting some much needed exercise whilst adhering to social distancing measures.”
Galway’s streets and roads are witnessing more small children learning to cycle and families cycling together for exercise and fun. Looking to the future and returning to school in September, Eric Heneghan, age 7, a pupil of St Patrick’s Primary School, told the meeting, “I’d like to have a safe cycle path from the Coolough Road, Menlo, so my sisters and I can cycle to school in the city.”
Speaking about the reduction in public transport capacity and concerns for older people, Martina Callanan of Galway Cycling Campaign said people travelling to work or into town by bus may switch to cycling because of reduced public transport capacity.
“The bus pass is an incredible source of freedom for older people, and now many will not feel comfortable using it. Footpaths need to be wide and smooth for all ages and all abilities. A five-year-old and a person ninety-five years young should be able to pass each other on the street without anxiety.”
Dr Brian McNicholl, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Galway University Hospital (GUH ), said in advance of the meeting, “We have seen a significant drop in car crash attendances at the Emergency Department at GUH as there are less cars on the road. Cycling reduces the risk of interpersonal transmission of Covid-19 in cars and public transport. In the long term it reduces risk of heart attack, cancer and stroke.”
Residents of Galway are invited to contribute their specific ideas on how to make space and reduce speed on a publicly available crowdsourcing document on the Galway Cycling Campaign website at www.GalwayCycling.org Galway Cycling Campaign will make a representation to the Council Executive with the suggestions.
Co-signatories of the Open Letter include Galway Chamber, Westend Traders, Engineers Ireland west, RIAI west, Architecture on the Edge, Aerogen, Storm Technology, Edward Holdings, Knockacarra FC, Salthill Knockncarra GAA, many Scouts, Girl Guides and Brownies groups, residents associations stretching from Menlo across the city to Salthill, Galway City Community Network, and Galway City Partnership.
All five Galway West TDs have signed the Open Letter – Eamon Ó Cuív, Mairéad Farrell, Noel Grealish, Catherine Connolly and Hildegarde Naughton – as well as Min Ciaran Cannon and Anne Rabbitte TD in Galway East, NUI Senators Alice-Mary Higgins and Rónán Mullen, Senator Pauline O’Reilly, Senator Gerard Craughwell, and councillors Eddie Hoare (FG), Clodagh Higgins (FG ), Frank Fahy (FG ), Níall McNelis (LP ), Owen Hanley (SD), Martina O’Connor (GP ), and Colette Connolly (Ind).
Galway Cycling Campaign will host our first public information meeting via Zoom tomorrow evening, Tuesday 12 May at 8pm, to crowdsource ideas for our ‘Change Our Streets’ open conversation with Galway City Council.
Tuesday 12 May, 8pm to 9pm Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 850 4519 8216 Password: 548586
‘Doors’ open at 7.45pm. ‘Drinks’ afterwards until 10pm.
We will give an update about the #ChangeOurStreets campaign and we also want your specific suggestions to improve Galway city to facilitate social distancing in residential, recreational, retail areas.
Please test your technology in advance. We are not in a position to give tech support.
We will gather specific suggestions of areas to improve and submit these to Galway City Council. This will deepen our conversation on how we can together ‘Change Our Streets’ to protect the physical well-being and mental health of all residents of all ages and all abilities, especially the very young and those who are vulnerable.
Galway Cycling Campaign is a voluntary group which represents cyclists in Galway. We promote cycling as a common and accessible form of transport with the goal of creating a more liveable Galway for everyone.