Councillors passed a Galway Cycling Campaign/Community Forum motion at Monday night’s Council meeting that will see the notorious pedestrian- and cyclist-unfriendly roundabouts of Galway City tackled under the latest City Development Plan.
Under the new Plan, which will be in place by January 2011, the City Executive will be committed to addressing the significant difficulties posed by roundabouts for pedestrians and cyclists. The Plan will compel the Council to explore remedial treatments, such as raised zebra crossings, in order to improve the safety of non-motorised transport users.
Roundabouts on national routes in Portlaoise and Limerick City have already been re-designed to include raised zebra crossings and zebra crossings, and hopefully Galway City will be next
said Oisin O’Nidh, PRO of the Galway Cycling Campaign.
The new City Development Plan will also endorse the ‘Hierarchy of Solutions’ in the Government’s National Cycle Policy Framework. This document, which supports the remedial treatment of roundabouts, prioritises traffic reduction, traffic calming and road redesign over dedicated cycling facilities in order to create a pedestrian- and cycle-friendly urban environment. According to Mr O’Nidh,
The inclusion of the Hierarchy of Solutions will enable the City Council to do more to promote cycling ith less revenue. It is the perfect solution for Local Authorities in ifficult economic times.
However, according to Campaign Chair Shane Foran, Galway’s development as Ireland’s Cycling City could be undermined by the actions of Council Director of Services, Ciaran Hayes, who successfully opposed a motion that would have provided primary school children with a network of backstreet routes to school. Mr Foran said:
Cycling to primary school has been in steep decline in Ireland for the past 20 years – down 83% between 1986 and 2006. Proactive approaches such as safe routes to schools are needed to address the low levels of cycling among school children and to foster a culture of cycling for the future. By opposing such measures, the City Council Executive has missed out on a perfect opportunity to dramatically increase the number of young cyclists in Galway, and at the same time ease the chronic traffic congestion that the city currently suffers from during school term.