Sixty per-cent of the cars in the city centre contain people that are simply trying to traverse to the other side.
The startling – but unsurprising – statistic came via Cllr Peter Keane at a meeting which he arranged about Galway’s dire traffic situation in the Clayton Hotel on Monday night, after Senior engineer at City Council, Uinsinn Finn, had spoken about the urgent requirement to address traffic management.
“If you don’t take the cars out of the city that don’t have a destination or origin in the city, they clog up the centre, which has an impact on the bus travel times,” Mr Finn had said.
“A lot of people coming across the Salmon Weir Bridge, from one side of city to the other, are without a destination within the city. But, if they are coming from Connemara to Dublin, public transport is not an option for them. If you’re to do all the public transport improvements, there is still a need for the N6 Galway City Ring Road,” he pointed out.
He said that the €680m project was “the big one” with plans due to be submitted to An Bord Pleanála in the first quarter of 2018.
“It’s very important for the city, it will engage and kick-off a lot of the other measures we can deliver in the city centre, in terms of bus prioritisation on the Salmon Weir Bridge and so on.
He said that the latest Census figures were valuable in predicting the traffic movements and needs of Galway’s residents and employees.
“Many people working in the city are actually coming from the county – in the 1980s, when the City Council was established separately to the County Council, everybody that lived in the city worked in the city, and everybody that lived in the county worked in the county – that’s changed.
“Galway is very much a regional city, it supports the likes of Ballinasloe, Loughrea, and Connemara. It’s a commuter city, where people are choosing to live in some of the regional towns and commute into the city for work and leisure. There is no doubt that this will continue to be the trend going forward.”
“We have to put together a plan to meet infrastructural needs as the city grows, and not have a total reliance on the car.
“The City Centre Traffic Management Plan is about taking more cars out of city centre core, making it more friendly for buses, cycling, and walking and, at the same time, improving some of the flow around the city centre for private cars.”
He referred to particular cross-city and outer-city corridors that needed addressing in the meantime, which would require land acquisitions, and result in loss of parking spaces on the roadside. Among them was the route from Lough Atalia, around by the Docks, the Spanish Arch, the Claddagh, St Mary’s Road, Newcastle Road, and across the Quincentenary Bridge.
For extensive coverage of the traffic meeting, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.