The Galway Cycling Campaign has expressed “serious reservations” about the City Council’s “enhancement scheme” proposed for the streets around the Small Crane area in the West of the city. Cyclists have lodged objections to the new one-way street system proposed by city architects for area. In a reply to the public consultation process, which closed on Tuesday, the campaign group points out that the scheme will make it illegal for children to cycle to school and illegal for children to cycle up and down outside their own houses on small residential streets. It is also pointed out that the use of one-way streets makes cycling generally less convenient. Concerns have also been expressed about the plans to close the Small Crane to traffic – again on the grounds that it cuts off a useful short cut for cyclists. The GCC has proposed that the scheme be amended to retain two-way access for cyclists on all the affected streets – it is proposed to do this by using selective road closures similar to that found at Wellpark shopping centre – where the road is blocked to cars but remains open to cyclists.
In separate submissions, concerned citizens have taken issue with the use of one-way streets in a scheme that the city council officials have described as a “Home zone” (a concept for a street where children have priority). It has been pointed out that design guidance on “Home zones” in the US and Scotland discourages the use of one-way streets because they increase traffic speeds. It has also been pointed out to the city’s planners that Canadian researchers have found that child pedestrians are 2.5 times more likely to be injured on one-way streets compared to two-way streets. In the US, over a 100 cities have converted one-way streets back to two-way use as a way of increasing the “livability” of city streets. US “livable streets” activists have described one-way streets as creating “race tracks” for cars, negatively impacting local communities and pedestrian access, hurting property values and hurting down town businesses.