Anger over bike scheme docking station

Row over bike stands
The new bicycle docking station at University Road

The roll-out of the docking stations for the new public bike scheme has infuriated Newcastle residents after they discovered it would swallow up a third of their street parking.

Ground works for the station on University Road began 10 days ago. However, it only dawned on locals last week that this would be a permanent fixture taking over up to five on-street pay-and-display parking spaces, which can be used by residents once they have a parking permit.

The area is used extensively for people visiting the University Hospital Galway and NUI Galway and residents have long complained they have trouble finding a space for themselves.

That will worsen significantly when the bike stand opens, with just eight spaces available for general use on the road due to a loading bay, the position of the traffic lights and now public bikes.

One of those remaining spaces will also be turned into a disabled parking space to replace the one removed from by the bike stand.

Labour Councillor Billy Cameron said the position of the station is “absolutely crazy”. None of the other 19 stations are taking away such premium car spaces, he contends.

“This is a perfect example of a decision made in Dublin without consultation with residents and the public,” he fumed.

“This amounts to up to five spaces, probably 33.3% of those on the street. It’s glaringly obvious it’s on the wrong side of the road. People who take the bikes will most likely be heading into town and they’ll have to cross the road. It will also affect the collection of refuse as the residents will no longer be able to put out their bins there.”

A spokesman for Galway City Council said the scheme was being rolled out by the National Transport Authority (NTA) with support from the city’s Transportation Unit.

The sites were identified and brought to the attention of city councillors at various presentations by the NTA.

But Cllr Cameron said the NTA made no mention of taking over car parking spaces.

“I had no idea it was going to be outside residences. When they talked about University Road I assumed it would be on the other side of the road across from Tesco where there is a large chunk of a corner that swerves along the boundary of the university wall.”

Calls to the NTA and consulting engineers in charge of the project, Arup, were not returned at the time of going to print.

The scheme will see the city getting 205 bikes, 19 stations and 395 stands with a start date now thought to be late October.