Campaign Welcomes City Council’s Smarter Travel 30km/h Speed Limit Proposal

The Galway Cycling Campaign has welcomed the City Council’s proposal to introduce a 30km/h speed limit as part of its proposal to secure funding of €25 million for the Galway Metropolitan Area from the Smarter Travel fund.

Commenting on this proposal, Shane Foran, the Chair of the Galway Cycling Campaign, stated:
“During the “big freeze” it was clear that traffic speeds in the city were reduced. Motorists have been driving at the speed limit on main roads, at 30km/h on secondary roads and at walking speed in housing estates where the roads are the children’s main play area.  In other countries, this would be considered normal driver behaviour all year round and gives a glimpse of how the city could be all the time with reduced traffic speeds creating a more cyclist and pedestrian friendly environment.”

The Campaign also believes that the City Council’s target of a 100% increase in cycling over the next 5 years can be achieved and exceeded if the sensible measures are put in place, and if the money allocated is not wasted on white-elephant cycling schemes.

While welcoming the fact that the City Council have made it to Stage 2 of the Smarter Travel fund, the Galway Cycling Campaign is wary of some the Council’s proposals and the omission of obvious issues facing pedestrians and cyclists. Oisin Ó Nidh of the Galway Cycling Campaign says: “First, roundabouts are not addressed at all. Large multi-lane roundabouts are one of the biggest deterrents for many walkers and cyclists trying to navigate in this city. Second, the money must be spent wisely, especially in this economic climate. Half a million Euro would provide top quality cycle parking stands all around the city, not just the city centre. Developing cycle-only routes can be very expensive, and the benefit can be limited to a small number of cyclists and usually for only part of their journey. We encourage Galway City Council to use the Department of Transport’s “National Cycle Policy Framework” document as a template when implementing cycling measures.”

Walking and Cycling Strategy: Query raised re consultants’ qualifications

The Galway Cycling Campaign have written to City Council Director of Services, Ciaran Hayes, seeking clarification on the qualifications of the consultants assigned to Galway City and Environs Walking and Cycling Strategy (AECOM). The Campaigners say that they have been unable to establish that the consultants have taken an approved cycling skills course or have formal training that would allow them to assess roads used by cyclists.

The Irish Government’s National Cycle Policy Framework states: “We will also stipulate that that all local authority roads engineers and any engineer wishing to tender for government road contracts should be required to have taken an approved cycling skills course”. The stated policy of the National Cycling Lobby Group, also specifies that the completion of an approved cycling skills course is a standard requirement for all consultants undertaking such work.

The Cycling Campaign have requested documentary evidence showing that the consultants (AECOM) have taken such a course.

Shane Foran speaking for the campaign added “In the UK and Ireland , the only accredited cycling skills course dealing with the full range of on-road traffic skills is the UK National Standard for Cycle Training. The Green Schools Travel staff currently working with 400 schools, including schools in Galway, have been trained as UK National Standard instructors” The Cycle Campaign states that current best practice for drafting viable cycling strategies requires consultants who are able to audit the existing roads, and any proposed new designs, with reference to “design cyclists” who come under the different ability levels defined under the National Standard curriculum. The cyclists say that it is totally unacceptable that the City Council should apparently be seeking to develop a cycling strategy in isolation from the advice that child and adult cyclists are being given with regard to using the roads.

The cyclists say the issue of consultants being able to show that they have necessary training is non-negotiable issue, because having untrained and unassessed consultants advising on cycling measures is viewed as equivalent to employing general traffic engineers who don’t possess driving licences or any independent verification of driving competence.

Survey on Walking/Cycling Infrastructure

Vulnerable road users at the Headford Rd. (Tesco) roundabout

Vulnerable road users at the Headford Rd. (Tesco) roundabout

The Galway City Community Forum has compiled an excellent survey on cycling and walking in Galway. Pleas fill in the survey here.

If you use a single user pc then use this link
If you use a shared pc then use this link

Members of the Galway City Community orum‘s transport group who met last week feel that this survey is much more relevant to the needs and concerns of pedestrians and cyclists than the survey recently promoted by the council’s consultants, and that it is more in line with the Forum’s transport policies.

However, we need to ensure that the survey is completed by a substantial number of local residents to ensure its authenticity before we submit and publicise the results. The results could put considerable pressure on the council to put proper cyclist/pedestrian infrastructure in place, especially if government funds are secured under the Smarter Travel initiative.

Because of the survey’s level of detail, a street-based campaign alone may not succeed: it is not something (as with a petition) that can be completed in 30 seconds from a stall on Shop Street on a Saturday afternoon. So we would be very grateful if you could set aside a few minutes to complete it and pass it on to friends and colleagues.

Galway cycling and walking news

A few links for your attention. The first is a very good piece in the Sentinel about a few of the things the Galway Cycling Campaign is lobbying for. Here’s an excerpt:

Roundabouts have become particularly hazardous for Galway cyclists. “To negotiate a roundabout, a cyclist has to be in the same traffic flow for entering or exiting, yet motorists are trying to overtake them by racing past. They are only delayed by a few seconds if they allow the cyclist to go in front. We’d appeal to motorists to give cyclists the space to get on and off the roundabout safely,” Mr Foran said. [That’s Shane Foran, of the Galway Cycling Campaign and]

Item no.2: Galway City and County Councils are planning a cycling and walking strategy, and have provided an online survey requesting feedback.

Finally, for your amusement, here’s a Flickr pool of bad cycle lanes.

For more like this, bookmark or subscribe to our Twitter feed, which is updated frequently with short snippets of links, news, tips and ideas. (You don’t have to join Twitter.)

31/10/09 A Touch of Green amid the Galway Asphalt

Parking Day Justyna and Catherine

Parking Day Justyna and Catherine

On Saturday the 31st of October, a city centre car parking space was temporarily reclaimed for the people of Galway. What used to be a car parking space was transformed into a mini public park to celebrate Galway’s first ever Park(ing) Day.

The aim of Park(ing) Day is to convert a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in an area of Galway City that is underserved by public open space. The objective is to creatively explore how our urban public space is allocated and used. Inexpensive kerb-side parking results in increased traffic & less space in the city centre. This hinders the movement of pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles, adds to the level of CO2 emissions and prevents the creation of a healthy, vibrant urban human habitat. Park(ing) Day is about re-imagining the possibilities of the metropolitan landscape.

Galway’s newest green space was offered (and used) as a space to sit down to have a chat with friends, read the newspaper or simply to watch the world go by. The Galway Cycling Campaign also provided muffins and Justyna’s famous “bicycle shaped” cookies!

Bicycle cookies

Bicycle cookies

The parking meter was always running and contributions were taken from passers by to feed the meter and make sure the new “Park” was paying its way!

September ’09 Cycling Campaign marks mobility week with competition in Uni

GCC Bike Stand Sep 09

GCC Bike Stand Sep 09

On the 24th of September the GCC marked mobility week ’09 with an “edutainment” event in NUI, Galway.  There was a competition using the information signs from the summer bicycle treasure hunt which were arrayed along the main concourse.  (Reputedly the longest enclosed space in the country). University vice president Keith Warnock, sponsored two bicycles worth EU250 each and mountain trail sponsored some bike accessories.   To enter the draw participants had to answer questions on measures to promote cycling and improve safety. The information signs covered the usual suspects: Roundabouts, one-way streets, permeability, cycle-parking, 30kph zones and so on.

The stand was manned in shifts by a team of GCC members: Indiana, James, Amy, Martin, Justyna, Oisin, Andrew, Catherine, Fionnuala.

The winners of the competition were Jennifer O’Grady, Eimear Tuohy and Brendan Dineen.

Indie and Catherine fight off last minute entrants as they try to take the stand down

Indie and Catherine fight off last minute entrants as they try to take the stand down

The event  really got the message out there and was an event worth repeating we have had more people express interest in getting involved as a result.   Big thanks go from the committee to all who helped out.  Particular thanks go to Indie Olbert who was our contact with the college and made it happen on the day.

Mobility week bike winners with college VP Keith Warnock

Mobility week bike winners

“Cycling Motorists” – a new survey

A study by the UK-based Institute of Advanced Motorists indicates that 45% of motorists cycle occasionally or regularly, and suggests that there is great potential for more motorists to begin cycling or to cycle more than they already do. A spokesperson for the IAM said: “Millions of motorists are already taking to the roads on two wheels. The IAM study identifies the huge potential for getting them to cycle more, and for getting motorists who know how to ride to take up cycling again.”

A summary of the findings is online here, and the study “Cycling Motorists” is available here (PDF, 2.35 MB; to download: right-click, “Save Link As…” or “Save Target As…”).

Impromptu meeting in NUI, Galway: Tuesday, 6 pm

Hello all, we will be having a meeting on Tues. 18 August at 6 pm in Smokey Joe’s on the Arts/Science Concourse in NUI, Galway. It shouldn’t last more than an hour. The aim is to get a handle on, and make a few decisions about, upcoming issues and events, such as Smarter Travel funding, Mobility Week 2009, and the proposed Galway city cycling strategy.

There is great potential in these initiatives, but unless we get in there with good information and a bit of groundwork, this potential could be wasted. Many a development is well-intentioned but ultimately unhelpful and even dangerous. Familiar faces and newcomers are equally welcome to come along and offer help and suggestions.

Galway Cycling Campaign is now on Twitter

A few days ago the Galway Cycling Campaign joined Twitter. If you’re unfamiliar with the service, there is a useful introduction here, and further information on Wikipedia. The London Cycling Campaign and the CTC already put the technology to good use.

If you’re on Twitter you can follow the Galway Cycling Campaign here; you can also visit our page without having to join. Either way, there will inevitably be some overlap with the material that gets circulated to our email subscribers – but Twitter brings its own benefits. We’ll be using it to distribute information, tips, and news, and to interact with other cyclists and interested parties both locally and around the world.

Bike Week closes with fun-filled afternoon by the Corrib

On Sunday, the Dangan sports ground at NUI, Galway and the canals through the city were overrun by a 98-strong horde of apprentice cyclists and their parents. The Galway Cycling Campaign was hosting the “Cycling Treasure Hunt for all the Family”, the closing event of Bikeweek 2009 in Galway. Children and their parents had a chance not only to enjoy a scenic cycle route, but also to have a fun challenge in the process.

The younger cyclists on the “Explorer Course” had a traffic-free route where they had ten challenges, including counting the parked bicycles, learning to lock bikes securely, learning to use their brakes, a “slow race” and a “winding road” to test their handling skills. The older Adventurers met these challenges and took a longer route down the canals to South Park. Along the way, the “Adventurers” found out about ways to make towns more cyclist friendly, with different stations set up highlighting the potential for cycling in Galway, and different aspects of cycle-friendly town planning and road design.

As the Adventurers and Explorers returned to Dangan, there was a bike maintenance session with brakes fixed on the spot; discount vouchers were available for more complex repairs. When all were back by 4pm there was a draw for prizes. The winners included the Breathnach, Wall, Crampton, Hardiman and Shimuzu families who all won bikes worth €250 sponsored by the Department of Transport. The Regan family won a bike worth €250, sponsored by Mountain Trail Bikes, while Max Chivers won a helmet worth €50, sponsored by Nigel’s Cycles in Liosban. The Higgins family won two sets of bicycle lights, and Lexi Ensor (aged 4) also won lights. Ursula Crampton (aged 11) won a lock, repair kit and reflective bicycle clips, as did Siobhan and Mark Regan Junior from Moycullen.

The volunteer marshals from the Galway Cycling Campaign, Volunteer Centre and NUI, Galway Alive programme were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the participants, and everybody took advantage of the sunny weather for some old fashioned outdoor fun. The Galway Cycling Campaign would like to thank NUI, Galway for hosting the event, the Department of Transport for the funding, Galway City Council for their kind assistance, and all the volunteers who generously gave their time and worked so hard to make it such a fine event. We are also very grateful to the Garda bicycle unit and the Red Cross, who provided support on the day. Most of all we would like to thank all the cyclists, young and not so young, who took part in the treasure hunt.