The Art of the Possible: Galwegian leads technical design of dlr’s Coastal Mobility Route

Galwegian and road engineer Conor Geraghty will be a guest speaker at a special online webinar tonight, Thursday 17 September, to discuss ‘The Art of the Possible: The Coastal Mobility Route’ with two of his colleagues from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, lead architect Bob Hannan and Robert Burns, Director of Services.

Conor Geraghty, Technical Lead for the dlr Coastal Mobility Route

The Coastal Mobility Route in dlr connects the five south Dublin villages of Blackrock, Monkstown, Dún Laoghaire, Glasthule and Dalkey and has become an inspiration for many with the quality of its design and build. 

The dlr council radically reimagined the five urban villages as havens for people walking, wheeling and cycling as they lacked space for people to queue while social distancing. 

Now with wider footpaths and more on-street tables and chairs, people are coming to these places, lingering, and spending money in local businesses, cafés and restaurants in the town centres. 

Last weekend, there was a 230% increase in people on bikes cycling along the coast at Dún Laoghaire compared to a similar weekend last year. 

The Coastal Mobility Route has witnessed an increased diversity in the type of people using the two-way mobility route including motorised wheelchairs, families with cargo bikes, and other bicycles adapted for people with disabilities. 

Conor Geraghty of Crestwood, Coolough Road, is the Technical Design Lead. A graduate of NUI Galway in mechanical engineering, he switched to civil engineering after a year in Australia. He has worked with dlr since January 2008.

Conor cycled to school everyday down the Dyke Road to St Patricks’ primary school in the city centre. As a student in the Bish, he made the journey four times daily, returning home each day for lunch.

As well as supporting business, a local primary school is also benefiting from the protected two-way mobility route. “Scoil Lorcáin is the school closest to the coastal route,” says Conor. “The school has more people cycling now than they can accommodate in their bike parking, which is a direct result of the route. Parents and grandparents collect their kids and grandchildren by bike. Lots of children aged 8, 9 and 10 years cycle independently along the route.”

Lead architect Bob Hannan will be familiar to Galway audiences as he was a special guest speaker at Architecture at the Edge in 2019, Galways’ annual  weekend celebration of exceptional architecture in the West of Ireland. 

Roscommon man Robert Burns is Director of Services in dlr. Previously, he was a senior engineer within that council, and prior to that was an engineer in Clare County Council. He is familiar with the challenges faced by urban and rural communities to provide better walking and active travel facilities.

Event organiser Síle Ginnane of Better Ennis is delighted that there’s interest from people in Galway in the event. “Everyone is welcome. Covid-19 has brought its many difficulties, yet webinars and the dlr Coastal Mobility Team show what’s possible in challenging times. We’re delighted that Conor’s fellow Tribes people are interested in attending. We hope that dlr can inspire communities along the west coast to develop attractive mobility routes and open up access to our towns and villages so they can thrive again.”

The webinar takes place at 8pm on Thursday 17 September at 8pm. This event will be of interest to people curious about healthy cities, urban design, active travel and creating liveable places. 

Free tickets are available on EventBrite for the event ‘The Art of the Possible: The Coastal Mobility Route’ which is organised by Better Ennis.

Cycling Officers should be appointed before new city development plan begins

Cycling Officers need to be quickly appointed to Galway City and County Councils according to the Galway Cycling Campaign, who has written to both councils seeking a timeline for the hiring process. 

The Programme for Government emphasises expertise and quality in the €360 million annual cycling infrastructure spend. It promises to appoint a Cycling Officer to every local authority, a role which has yet undefined “real powers”. 

The Cycling Officer in each council executive is to ensure that each local authority “adopts a high-quality cycling policy, carries out an assessment of their roads network and develops cycle network plans.”

Cécile Robin, deputy chairperson of the Galway Cycling Campaign, says that the Cycling Officer should be appointed at a senior level with the ability to oversee budgets and have authority to ensure local authorities implement national cycling policy and design guidance to the highest standard.

“Our Roads departments are filled with talented engineers. The Cycling Officers should have a complementary skillset, such as in urban geography, sociology or psychology. The council’s ambition should be to create liveable neighbourhoods that prioritise people who walk, use wheelchairs, cycle or scoot,” said Ms Robin.

The appointment is particularly urgent because the process for the new Galway City Development Plan begins in January. 

“We need an expert in sustainable safety to be at the heart of developing our city,” said Ms Robin. “The 15-minute city is the ambition of Paris, where everything you need should be within a 15 minute walk or cycle of your front door such as local shops, cafés, schools, and even work. To paraphrase a great Irish sports commentator, neither France nor Paris are known as cycling strongholds.”

“Paris is adding another 650km of ‘corona cycleways’ to it’s 700km network to enable people to keep cycling after lockdown. Our city needs a senior decision maker within the council executive to champion active travel like walking, cycling and scooting from people’s front doors to wherever they need to go on a regular basis, like school, work, the GP, shops, and restaurants. We are already a cycling city, second only to Dublin in terms of people cycling to school and work.”

Cycling Officers are to work closely with new Regional Cycle Design Offices, as promised in the Programme for Government. 

“The 2009 National Cycle Policy Framework, introduced when Fianna Fáil and the Greens were last in government, continues to have good guidelines for people-centred planning and sustainable development. It has ambitious national guidelines to enable cycling within urban and rural areas. This needs to be embedded within the new city development plan, and a Cycling Officer should have the power to do so,” concluded Ms Robin.

CycleCoffeeCake spins to Renmore and Roscam

An August Bank Holiday with a different spin – a gentle social cycle from Renmore to Roscam hosted by the Galway Cycling Campaign

CycleCoffeeCake at Ballyloughane Beach, Renmore

CycleCoffeeCake pedalled away to the Galway city east for the August Bank Holiday with new and returning faces joining the group.

The route was led by Dan Clabby, Treasurer of Galway Cycling Campaign and a local, who gave shared some local history as the route travelled from The Huntsman Inn, down the Black Path to Lakeshore Drive for stunning views of Lough Atalia, a stop at Ballyloughane Beach, and on to a mostly unknown short lane between Lurgan Park and the Dublin Road.

The direct route from Moneenageisha junction to Supermacs on the Old Dublin Road near the entrance to Merlin Park University Hospital is 2.1km on a busy arterial route, which is unpleasant to cycle. It includes an identified bicycle blackspot for collisions and injuries.

The quiet route that CycleCoffeeCake explored shows that it possible to make this journey on quiet calm streets away from the noisy main road with buses, trucks and vans.

After a brief dismount to walk the footpaths in front of Galway Crystal, the group continued to the Rosshill Road, a quieter road which connects to the Old Dublin Road and the coastal route to Oranmore.

The group returned along most of the same route, only changing after Lurgan Park to continue by the Kingfisher sports centre, Renmore Scouts Den, Renmore Playing Fields, Scoil Chaitríona primary school, the Galway Hospice and Church of St Oliver Plunkett, to the Full Duck Café on Renmore Road.

The next CycleCoffeeCake will take place as part of Galway Community Pride on Sunday 16 August 2020 in the city centre.

Galway cyclists call for lower speed limits

Galway needs to follow the example of Wales and decrease its speed limits for urban areas from 50km/h to 30km/h. All welcome to our online public meeting with Gwenda Owen of Cycling UK- Wales.

Galway city council is currently in the process of a public consultation about revising speed limit bye-laws throughout the city and Kevin Jennings, chairperson of Galway Cycling Campaign, believes that Galway should be inspired by the Welsh Government’s report that is recommending 30km/h replace 50km/h as the default speed limit on urban roads throughout the country and should embrace the benefits of slower speeds.

If the legislation is passed, Wales will become the first country in the world to reduce the default speed limit for urban areas to 20mph.

He said: “If someone is struck by a vehicle at 30km/h, their chance of survival is up to 97 per cent. This decreases with every kilometre driven faster.

There is also evidence that injuries are reduced when 30km/h limits are introduced and that 30km/h limits lead to more walking and cycling and lower noise levels. It’s more important now than ever to have safer streets and spaces for walking and cycling.

“A lower citywide speed limit would be life-changing because slower speeds will improve the places where we live, work, and go to school. We saw during lockdown that people were encouraged to walk and cycle more because they felt safer doing so.

“We look forward to working with Galway City Council to support lower speeds limits. We are happy to see public support for citywide lower speed limits from An Garda Chief Superintendent Tom Curley and chair of the Joint Policing Committee, Cllr Níall McNelis.”

Gwenda Owen, Cycling UK – Wales

On Friday 7 August, between 7.30pm and 9.30pm, the advocacy group will host its monthly meeting online via Zoom with Gwenda Owen of Cycling UK – Wales the special guest speaker.

Owens has played a significant role creating public support for the benefits of slower speeds in cities, towns, and villages by working closely with grassroots and community organisations and sat on the Welsh Government’s Walking and Cycling Action Plan Steering Group, which produced the Walking and Cycling Strategy for Wales in 2014.

Spokesperson for Galway Cycling Campaign Martina Callanan said; “The majority of our primary and secondary schools, primary care centres, community centres, and sports grounds are in our suburbs, outside the inner city zone, as well as Galway University Hospital, Bon Secours and Merlin Park hospital campuses, and GMIT.

“These are places that many people arrive at by foot and bike. Lower speed limits will make it safer, healthier, and much more pleasant, to choose active travel.”

Email [email protected] for the online Zoom link.

Read the story on Galway Advertiser

Saturday mornings are better with a cycle, coffee and cake

Join us this Saturday 18 July 2020 for CycleCoffeeCake at 10.30am from Nimmo’s Pier through our vibrant city centre and ending at the wonderful Ciarlantini of Woodquay. This is a gentle inclusive cycle for new or nearly-new adults on bikes. All ages and abilities are welcome. We particularly welcome mams who want some confidence before cycling with their children to school in September. Please register – we have limited numbers and need details for contact tracing.

Our first CycleCoffeeCake explored Salthill and the Prom. Kevin Nugent of Ground & Co Salthill sponsored coffee and cake for a vibrant and diverse group of new, nearly-new and returning cyclers.

CycleCoffeeCake is a new initiative of the Galway Cycling Campaign and aims to encourage new, nearly-new, and returning cyclers to hop on their saddles and join together in gentle, inclusive cycles around Galway city.

The event particularly welcomes women on bikes, especially mums who want to get more confident cycling around the city before the school year begins, and women of all ages and abilities who are returning to cycling. The bike boom of 2020 is a result of these two groups buying bikes in Galway, and indeed across Ireland.

Galway Cycling Campaign hopes to encourage those who want to become more comfortable cycling and those who would enjoy some support as they gain confidence in cycling around the city.

Please register for this Saturday’s event for contract tracing purposes. Numbers are limited. People who arrive on the day without signing-up will not be accommodated.

Event details

Saturday 18 July 2020
10.30am – 12 noon 
Meet: Claddagh Hall, Nimmo’s Pier
Route: Galway city centre routes, detours, things to watch out for, and bike parking spots
Coffee & Cake: Cafe Bar Ciarlantini, Woodquay

Click on the image above to go to the registration page

The inaugural CycleCoffeeCake event took place last month and the sounds of chats and bell chimes was heard as the group cycled from the Claddagh Hall to Blackrock before enjoying coffee and cake sponsored by Kevin Nugent and Ground & Co in Salthill.

CycleCoffeeCake sponsor: Bar Italia Ciarlantini of Woodquay

This month, CycleCoffeeCake will again start at 10.30am at the Claddagh Hall and explore routes around the city centre, show useful detours away from major routes, and point out bike parking. The social cycle will end in Woodquay at Bar Italia Ciarlantini.

Lolita of Ciarlantini will sponsor coffee and cake for the first 15 registrations.

Lolita of Bar Italia Ciarlantini in Woodquay is sponsoring CycleCoffeeCake July edition.

Martina Callanan, spokesperson for Galway Cycling Campaign, said, “Cycling is an easy, fun activity for people of all ages and abilities. We want to show newbies and novices safe and pleasant bike trails across the city that end at local cafés where we can enjoy coffee, cake and chats.”

“As we kickstart the economy, we want to support our friends and neighbours who own local businesses, especially those that have safe and secure bicycle parking nearby,” she added.

Kevin Jennings, chairperson of the Galway Cycling Campaign, commented, “As we look ahead to schools reopening in a few weeks, we want to help parents, particularly mams, feel more comfortable cycling their kids to school, especially if they do not have a local Cycle Bus. CycleCoffeeCake is a great way for adults to meet with others who feel the same way and to share tips from more experienced people on bikes.”

As the route will be on roads shared with buses, vans and cars in the city centre, numbers will be limited and only those who have registered in advance will be able to participate.

Keep an eye on our social media @GalwayCycling on Twitter and Facebook.

Delicious coffee and cake awaits us at Bar Italia Ciarlantini, Woodquay