A submission by cycling campaigners about the city bypass believes homes should be demolished in parts of Knocknacarra and traffic banned from three key bridges to transform Galway into the Oxford of Ireland.
The submission by the Galway Cycling Campaign to the Galway City Integrated Traffic Management Programme Consultation – being undertaken by the consultants managing the city bypass project – argues that Galway should move away from car-focused city models such as Los Angeles or Birmingham.
Instead, it should see itself as the Irish equivalent of historical university cities like Oxford, Cambridge, Utrecht, Freiburg and Ferrara.
The cycle lobby group argues for a system of traffic cells modelled on cities like Delft and Groningen with cars banned from crossing the city centre.
The Salmon Weir bridge, O’Briens Bridge and Wolfe Tone bridge would be closed to private cars but remain open to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. Private traffic crossing the city would need to use the Quincentenary Bridge.
For the wider city, the submission calls for comprehensive measures to address car speeds on city roads with a focus on enforcement.
Problematic road features should be removed or modified – roundabouts should be taken out, traffic calmed with raised zebra crossings and lane widths at traffic lights widened.
The cycle campaign calls for remedial measures for newer car-based areas of the city such as Knocknacarra to allow people to cycle in the shortest route necessary without having to go on main roads.
“Measures will include knocking down walls between housing estates, providing wheeling ramps and steps, providing pedestrian and cyclist access from housing estates to local roads by the shortest possible route. In some locations, particularly Knocknacarra, it may be necessary to buy adjacent properties and demolish them in order to construct the type of secondary roads network found in cities like Utrecht or Freiburg.
“Here the cul-de-sac based housing model needs to be dismantled. In some cases, it may be necessary to purchase properties and demolish them in order to create a functional roads network. Without this, walking, cycling and public transport are discouraged by excessively long travel distances,” the group believes.
Smaller schoolchildren must have traffic-free routes away from main roads to tackle school-run congestion.
In a separate submission, the Community Road Safety Action & Information Network (Cosain) argues that in order to encourage more sustainable travel patterns, planning authorities and their consultants must place public transit, cycling and walking at the top of the transport hierarchy.
“If car dependence is a fire that must be controlled, then increasing road capacity is like dousing it in high-octane fuel,” it states.
The group also rallies against what it describes as the provision of large quantities of car parking (2,634 spaces) in the city centre.
“Yet it is frequently stated by the Local Authority that there is ‘no room’ in the city centre to further accommodate public transport, walking and cycling … the availability of free, cheap or otherwise convenient parking is one of the biggest determinants of whether people drive to their destinations, or travel by bus, by bike or on foot.”
Pedestrian seriously injured in Furbo hit and run
A man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital following a hit and run in Furbo last night.
He was a pedestrian who was walking on the R336 road near Furbo Church, when he was hit by a car around 8.30pm.
The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.
The road is currently closed with diversions in place while Garda Forensic Collision Investigators conduct an examination of the scene.
Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward, particularly any road users who may have dash-cam footage recorded in the area between 8pm and 9pm.
Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda
Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.
Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.
He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.
Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.
In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.
There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.
The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.
Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.
Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.
Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.
Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.
In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.
He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.
Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway
Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.
That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.
“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.
“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.
“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.
“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.
Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.
“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.
“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker. Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.
“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.
“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.