Galway Cycling Campaign and the ‘Change Our Streets’ movement welcomes the online request and mapping tool for ideas to improve mobility in the city during coronavirus. It was made available today, Friday 22 May 2020, by Galway City Council and the City Mobility Team.
Kevin Jennings, chairperson of Galway Cycling Campaign said, “We welcome this easy-to-use online form. We are glad that the Council have made the suggestions transparent and map-based, as we suggested in previous correspondence.”
All requests will be populated on a map of the city, so everyone can see requests submitted for areas of interest.
Categories for change: wider paths, lower speeds, space for cycling, cycle parking, maintenance, more space for queuing
Martina Callanan, spokesperson for Galway Cycling Campaign said, “We encourage everyone to use the online request form to support social distancing. If you are concerned about space at a bus stop, touching beg buttons at crossing, need a wider footpath in your residential area, or need space for cycling, you can make a specific request for a particular location. We suggest people bookmark this online form in their web browser to access it quickly and easily.”
She continued, “We welcome the categories for change which include requests for wider paths, lower speeds, space for cycling, cycle parking, maintenance, and more space for queuing. These changes to our streets will make our city safer and more pleasant for walking and cycling for people of all ages and all abilities.”
Galway City Council says, “Please note this information will be made publicly available on a map on www.galwaycity.ie Please do not include any personal details, names or profanities in your submission.”
Galway City Council says that all requests will be carefully reviewed by the City Mobility Team (CMT) to identify which initiatives can be progressed safely. Galway City Council will update the status of requests, as they are reviewed by the CMT.
Yesterday, Thursday 21 May 2020, Galway Cycling Campaign submitted a 20 page document of 60+ specific suggestions to improve mobility during coronavirus.
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!”
Galway Cycling Campaign welcomes the enforcement by An Garda Síochána of a 24-hour National Slow Down Day on 22nd – 23rd May 2020.
Yet unlike Christmas Day, Slow Down Day should be every day.
An Garda Síochána say that more road deaths have been recorded so far this year compared to last year (56 deaths up 5). This is appalling in a time of historic low traffic volumes due to the Covid-19 ‘Stay At Home’ restrictions.
Martina Callanan, spokesperson for Galway Cycling Campaign, said: “The research is stark. If you are walking to the shop and a person driving at 60km/h hits you, there’s a 90% chance your family will be gathering for your socially-distant funeral. If you are cycling to the local café and are hit by a car travelling at 30km/h, there’s a 90% chance you will survive and be able to return to your favourite coffee shop one day.”
“We appeal again to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to take out his pen and sign a ministerial order to lower speed limits to 30km/h in areas where people walking and cycling are sharing space with cars, buses, trucks and HGVs. This will save lives,” she added.
Calling for more patience and empathy from different road users, Kevin Jennings, Chair of Galway Cycling Campaign, added: “We welcome enforcement and speed vans all over our city and county tomorrow – and every day. We need a cultural change on our roads. Responsible driving is critical at all times, and particularly now during coronavirus.”
He explained: “The two metre social distancing requirement frequently forces people to step off narrow paths out onto carriageways to avoid contact with other people walking. People cycling usually give two metres social distance to people walking too. This means people on bikes must move into the primary position in the middle of the lane, which is difficult when motor vehicles are moving at speed. People should not have to choose between risk of death by road traffic collision or risk of contracting a deadly viral infection.”
Neil Ó Laoire of the Galway Cycling Campaign continued: “Evidence-based roads policing should be key in guiding An Garda Síochána’s effective use of resources. National Slow Down Days needs to have a measurable impact on the safety of road users. We need regular and reliable enforcement statistics on a number of key indicators – fatalities, serious and minor accidents, penalty points issued, prosecutions.
We also need to know the number of checkpoints and how long they are in operation on Slow Down Day, and how many people driving were prosecuted as a result of this one day.”
Martina Callanan concluded: “We expect our new Government to fund changes to road design across the city and county. Engineering out speed is vital to help people driving to adhere to speed limits. People walking and cycling need segregated and protected cycle ways and paths away from main roads to be safe, and to feel safe.”
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 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.