The man with his finger on the pulse of urban traffic woes across the country, has this week called on all stakeholders to urgently re-examine the case for a light rail system in Galway city.
Conor Faughnan, Director of Consumer Affairs with the Automobile Association (AA) told the Galway City Tribune that investment in light rail was one that had delivered a huge dividend in Dublin and in many other cities across the UK and Europe.
“The traffic congestion problems in a modestly city like Galway are embarrassingly bad – they really are disproportionate to its size. Light rail lines from Oranmore to Furbo and on the Tuam Road would deliver a huge return,” said Conor Faughnan.
This week, Galway An Taisce Chair, Derrick Hambleton, pointed out that with 6,000 people working in Parkmore alone, there was clearly a need for ‘a better and more efficient public transport system’.
“I, and many other people I know, believe it is time to look again at Galway building its own GLUAS type light rail transit system.
“One light rail line could be built from the Council owned old airport site with a second one coming in from the west of the city at Cappagh or Barna.
“There are many hundreds of examples of light rail in use worldwide. There are nearly 30 cities and towns in Europe with populations similar to Galway’s, that have invested in light rail,” said Derrick Hambleton.
Professor Lewis Lesley, Technical Director of Trampower UK – a private company that designs and develops light rail systems – warned earlier this month that the present level of congestion in Galway city was not going to improve.
He said that with Galway’s designation as European City of Culture by 2020, an extra million people – on top of the existing annual visitor numbers of 1.3 million – would be coming west.
“Getting visitors in an out of the city could be a nightmare. The present level of congestion will not improve without an alternative that visitors find acceptable.
“GLUAS can be built with a minimum of disruption from the experience I gained with AMEC (a UK rail construction company), building the Manchester Metrolink,” said Prof. Lesley.
For the rest of this story, 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.