Park and Ride and bus lane among Parkmore proposals

Traffic at Parkmore

A Park & Ride service on the eastern side of the city and a dedicated bus lane in Parkmore Business Park are key to the future expansion of industry in Galway, a new survey has found.

The ‘Traffic and Travel Trends Survey’ from Galway Chamber also proposes increased bus frequency, car-pooling and staggered working hours for the large business parks on the eastern side of the city (Parkmore, Ballybrit and Mervue).

The survey was carried out in Spring and had a total of 2,125 replies from workers at the business parks.

It recorded very high dependency on the car, with 77.9% driving to work. 10.5% take the bus to work, 4% cycle and 2.9% walk. The vast majority of these are people who live in the city.

However, less than 1% of people living in rural areas travel to work in the city by bus.

The survey compared travel times to work for those who live in the city. For most of the urban areas, it was found that travel by bus takes twice as long as the car.

“This clearly a dis-incentive for bus usage. Travel patterns for those living in the west of the city and working in the east were carefully examined.

“While commuters are interested in travelling by public transport, it does not appear that there are a sufficient number travelling to ensure a viable direct bus route.

“Thus, a bus route over the Quincentenary Bridge is not recommended.  This is also consistent with the recently published draft transport plan for the city,” the report reads.

It makes a number of recommendations which it says will be critical in decongesting the city and enabling future expansion of the business parks:

■ A bus lane should be introduced in Parkmore for very fast travel times in the morning and afternoon.
■ A Park & Ride on the eastern edge of the city going directly to Parkmore would benefit more than 2,500 people who who live in rural east Galway.  A fast travel time with a priority route (bus lane) would be critical to its success.
■ Additional bus routes on the east side of the city to the business parks.
■ A travel behaviour change campaign should be developed within each of the business parks which is focused on:
■ Promotion of public transport, walking and cycling to work.
■ Facilitating sustainable modes with the provision of showers, lockers, bike parking etc.
■ Greater staggering to start and finish times in the workplace will help to spread the traffic load over a longer time.
■ Promotion of car-pooling including incentives.
■ The introduction of challenges and events to encourage modal shift.

Professor Padraic O’Donoghue of NUI Galway said the key to traffic decongestion is a move towards more sustainable transport.

“Galway has a particular challenge with people working in one area and living in another and this is both an urban and a rural issue. There is a need for a long-term strategy to provide places of employment closer to centres of population.

“With regard to implementation of recommendations, it will require the various stakeholders to act on proposals as part of an action plan.

“Ultimately, the move towards a more sustainable transport system is the key issue as this will decongest the city and will have a positive impact on the economic and social well-being of Galway,” said Prof O’Donoghue.