Meeting minutes 10 November 2008

Venue: Galway Social Space, 24 Middle St.
Present: Shane, Kristin, Sean, Lindsey, Naringa, Marty, Simon, Stan
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., 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).






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