July Stimulus can change Galway cityscape: bike racks will be like wildflowers – popping up everywhere

Our chairperson Kevin Jennings outlines what the ‘big pot of July Stimulus mobility funding’ can do to create jobs and #ChangeOurStreets

Bike parking and flowers from West Midlands Big Summer of Cycling and Walking campaign, funded by Transport for West Midlands in order to keep the region moving during the COVID-19 recovery phases and beyond.

The government’s July Stimulus programme has created opportunities to quickly change our streets by creating more facilities for people who walk, wheel and cycle, according to the Galway Cycling Campaign. With funding available from the National Transport Authority, local contractors can be hired to implement shovel-ready projects, and so immediately boost employment while making  safer streets. 

“We understand that the big pot of July Stimulus mobility funding will fully cover the provision of new cycle tracks, bike parking, reducing road widths at crossing points and raised zebra crossings,” says chairperson Kevin Jennings.

“The public engagement process during the first City Mobility Team’s tenure showed overwhelming support for the need for more public space to walk to the local shops, cycle to GAA training, and go about  daily business throughout the city.”

“We hope to see bike parking racks pop up everywhere, like wildflowers. Anywhere there is a bike tied to a pole, that shows the need for secure and shelter bicycle parking. We encourage local shops, supermarkets, cafés and restaurants to ask the Council to install bike racks at their businesses. Bicycles should never obstruct footpaths.”

Relevant legislation gives Council Executives power to be quick and nimble in reallocating road and street space. Ne

#iBikeSalthill

“Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s vision and ambition to reallocate public space in order to support residents and local businesses is inspiring,” says Mr Jennings. 

“We understand from our councillors that the Salthill Cycleway is still a possibility within reach. We have written to the Council to suggest that they make contact with DLRCC and arrange a tour for some Council and business representatives to examine the two-way cycleway from Blackrock to Sandycove via Dublin’s Salthill to see first-hand what is possible. DLRCC and local businesses have worked closely together and residents and visitors are reaping the benefits.”

Neasa Bheilbigh and her son MacDara. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Neasa Bheilbigh of the Galway School Cycle Bus says,” With the imminent reopening of schools and public health advice continuing to recommend walking and cycling where possible, many parents will want an alternative to families cocooning in their cars at school gates.”

She continues, “July Stimulus funds specifically provide money for reducing road widths at crossing points and raised zebra crossings, which will help children cross roads more safely on their school routes in the city centre and suburbs.” 

“We suggest that schools and parents contact their local councillors to make requests to the Council for safer routes to school.”

Read the story in the Galway Advertiser, 13 August 2020

CycleCoffeeCake celebrates a pedal-away success

The first CycleCoffeeCake held today was a pedal-away success. The event, which filled registration within 24 hours of its announcement, shows the latent desire for people of all ages and abilities to gain confidence for cycling on roads, learning safe cycling skills, and enjoy being part of an everyday cycling community. Participants included a man using a recumbent  trike, a proudly self-identifying ‘oldie’, and Snoopy the dog in a bike basket. The sound of bell chimes and happy chats as people cycled side-by-side was pure joy.

CycleCoffeeCake participants enjoying coffee and cake at Ground & Co Salthill – Photo by Paula Healy

Thank you to all who joined us for the first ever #CycleCoffeeCake this morning. It was thrilling to have people of all ages and abilities with a mix of regulars and newbies on bikes join us for a gentle and including Saturday morning spin for coffee and cake.

New bikes and golden oldies

Eimear Ní Fhlatharta, who bought her bike only a fortnight ago, said the experience helped her feel empowered and more confident about taking space while cycling on-road.

Martina Callanan, spokesman for the Galway Cycling Campaign and creator of CycleCoffeeCake, said that this tweet was the reason for doing what we do.

Eimear’s experience is why we set up this social cycling event. We want to enable confidence in people who are new to cycling, or hopping back on the saddle after years or maybe decades. We want to share skills and tips while connecting people with a caring and fun everyday cycling community.

Martina Callanan, spokesperson for Galway Cycling Campaign and creator of CycleCoffeeCake

Before the group departed the start point, a participant asked, “When is the next event?” Gesturing at her red bike with a wicker bike basket, she said, “I’m as old as this bike. I want to cycle!” 

The group asked for CycleCoffeeCake to be a fortnightly event during the summer. We are delighted to respond to this request, and so the next event will take place on Saturday 27 June at 10.30am.

Registration details along with the start point and route details will be announced the week beginning Sunday 20 June.

Route details

The route today went from Nimmo’s Pier to Blackrock before ending in Salthill village with coffee and cake at Ground & Co.

Instead of the off-road cycle path on the shoreline of the Swamp, the group cycled entirely on-road. This is because a kissing gate from Nimmo’s Pier to the Swamp is a Covid-19 contact concern as well as being a mobility obstacle for people with bikes, and in particular, our participant who uses a recumbrent trike.

A recumbent tricycle is a bicycle in which the rider sits in a laid back position while riding it, with their feet in front of them, and has three wheels – File photo

Event partners

Special thanks to Martyna Cwiertnia from An Mheitheal Rothar for giving a terrific bike maintenance talk, which focused on the safety M Check.

The M Check by Velo City, an annual international cycling conference by European Cyclists’ Federation

Check out Martyna’s bike mechanic YouTube channel, Rainbow Bikes, which has helpful easy-to-do bike maintenance tips as well as videos on vintage bicycle restorations.

High Nelly restoration process 2019 by Martyna Cwiertnia on her YouTube channel, Rainbow Cycles

It was easy to choose Ground & Co Salthill as our first event partner. The Aquarium Building is a great location in Salthill with lots of space and seats outside to enjoy our complimentary coffee and cake.

Since coronavirus and lifting of lockdown, more people are arriving by bicycle and the bike stands outside Ground & Co Salthilll have never been so busy. We’re delighted to support CycleCoffeeCake and sponsor this first-ever event.

Kevin Nugent, owner of Ground & Co Salthill

As well as the event group, many more people on bikes were curious about the event and tagged along behind and joined us for coffee and chats.

Importantly for us, this local café has an abundance of secure bike racks, which we filled.

An abundance of bikes securely parked outside Ground & Co Salthill – Photo by Paula Healy

Next event

CycleCoffeeCake will be a regular fortnightly event by the Galway Cycling Campaign during the summer. 

We want to help people feel more confident cycling about town and to and from residential and recreational areas. Each event will take a different route and will offer a theme, a guest guide, or a guest speaker.

Kevin Jennings, chairperson of Galway Cycling Campaign

Cake bike trails will be explored across the city, especially those that end in green and blue areas where we can enjoy coffee, cake and chats in safe and pleasant surroundings, like Terryland Forest Park, the Seven Galway Castles’ Heritage Cycle Trail / Slí na gCaisleán, Cappagh Park, and Ballyloughnane Beach.

As we reopen society after the coronavirus lockdown, we want to support local businesses, especially those that have safe and secure bicycle parking outside.

Martina Callanan, creator of CycleCoffeeCake

We welcome suggestions of routes and local businesses in the comments below, via email [email protected] or through DM on Twitter.

Save the date!

The next event will take place on Saturday 27 June at 10.30am. A registration link will be live in the week before the event.

If you would like to become part of Galway’s everyday cycling community, join the Galway Cycling Campaign for a €10 or a €5 contribution.

Until then, pedal on!

The view from Nimmo’s Pier across the the Long Walk – Photo by Eimear Ní Fhlatharta

#ChangeOurStreets – submit your ideas directly to the City Mobility Team

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.

Screenshot of Galway City Council Mobility Team request form for social distancing measures with an easy to use map to identify locations

Galway City Council have developed a user friendly online request form to support social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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.”

All requests will be made publicly available on a map on www.galwaycity.ie

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.

Bikes boost businesses and back re-opening Galway

Galway Cycling Campaign is backing local businesses as Galway city knuckles down to kick-start the economy again.

Ravens Terrace, Galway’s Westend

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.