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

Galway Schools Encourage Commuting by Bike

Pupils at Drumshanbo Voc Sch heading home on their bikes with high vis gear

It is interesting to note some major cycling initiatives happening in Galway city and county schools, developed by local Green Schools committees and supported by the An Taisce Green Schools Team. The Green Schools website section on cycling contains some useful resources to make cycling a viable alternative to being driven to school. It includes ideas for schools hoping to encourage more students to explore whether cycling is a safe and viable alternative means of travel, by organising bike training and bike maintenance sessions, and intriguingly to hold COW days – not travel of the bovine kind, but Cycle on Wednesday (COW day)  promotions. Tiarnan McClusker, from An Taisce, cited in the Galway City Tribune on the 18th of February, noted there has been a national increase of 25% of children cycling to school since 2008, since such initiatives began.

One new scheme launched this week – again by the An Taisce Green Schools Team, along with Galway Healthy Cities and West of Ireland Cycling – has offered five free bikes to teachers on a hire basis for a month, within the Galway city, Claregalway, Barna and Oranmore areas. More information about the scheme is available from [email protected]

Another upcoming event includes a week long cycling challenge for secondary school students, parents and staff, from the 7th to the 11th of March 2011 (see their website for more information). This is open to anyone who wants to take part, and is willing to get on their bikes in the city or county, in preparation for the run up to National Bike Week 2011, to be held in June. If you are a regular cyclist, be sure to wave hello at the increased number of cyclists Galway will see out on the roads on this week.

Watch out for information on events in your locality, or perhaps consider organising similar challenge where you work. Oil up your chain, pump up your tyres, and keep an eye out for some of our Galway Cycling Campaign bike accessories, which we’ll be distributing to cyclists out and about.