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Galway City councillors hit the brakes on 30km/h speed limit proposal


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galway City councillors hit the brakes on 30km/h speed limit proposal

From the Galway City Tribune – Councillors have hit the brakes on introducing a 30km/h speed limit for the city centre – opting instead for a full speed limit review on all city roads which the Council has committed to completing early next year.

At a meeting last Monday, a majority councillors voted down a motion proposed by Cllr Owen Hanley (Soc Dem) and seconded by Cllr Níall McNelis (Lab) to reduce the limit on inner city roads.

A report was presented to councillors from the Transport Department following the passage of a similar motion in March to reduce the speed limit in areas such as Bohermore, Headford Road, College Road, University Road and Dominick Street.

Senior Engineer Uinsinn Finn outlined that the Council Executive supported the city 30km/h zone but was recommending implementation as part of a city-wide review of speed limits – including housing estates without a 30km/h limit.

He said the process of rolling out a city-wide review would “in theory” take the same length of time as doing the city centre alone.

“I think we can be ready to come back to [councillors] in January. There would then be four weeks plus two weeks for the public consultation, bringing us to March or April next year to be in a position to adopt the bylaws.

“That review can include providing for a 30km/h limit in the city centre zone, as proposed by the motion, but can also include a review of national routes, such as Bóthar na dTreabh,” said Mr Finn, adding that the speed limit on that route was inappropriately low at 50km/h.

“There are also rural roads such as the Oranmore Coast Road where it is currently set at 50km/h out as far as Oranmore Train Station. The appropriate speed there would be 80km/h,” he continued, given the width of the road and the hard shoulder.

Cllr Niall Murphy (Green) said the whole point in taking the city centre as a standalone area was that a previous speed limit review in 2020 had been rejected by as some councillors were against increases in areas such as those outlined by Mr Finn, while the majority supported the 30km/h zone.

“If you combine it altogether, then nobody is getting what they want.

“This is supposed to be a reserved function, but councillors have little say – we should be able to vote on the city centre separately,” said Cllr Murphy.

Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) proposed an amendment to Cllr Hanley’s motion to include an increase in speed limits in areas where the limit was “too low”, such as Bóthar na dTreabh and the Tuam Road (at Roadstone), a suggestion accepted by Cllr Hanley in an attempt to break the deadlock.

Cllr Donal Lyons (Ind) proposed accepting the Executive’s recommendation to proceed with a full speed limit review and was seconded by Cllr Frank Fahy (FG).

Cllr Fahy said he could see the logic of the 30km/h proposal for the city centre but said the suggestion you could go any quicker during busy times was laughable.

“Anybody driving in the city this past week would be at a loss as to what we’re talking about – the city is in total gridlock,” he said.

Cllr Mike Crowe (FF) said he had taken on board Cllr Hanley’s motion, but it was “all over the place”.

City Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said Galway was out of step with the rest of the country and remained the only local authority not to have carried out a review following a Government directive in 2014.

“The current bylaws are broken and they need to be fixed – we are the only local authority that has not fixed them,” said Mr McGrath.

Cllr Hanley’s motion was voted down 11 votes to five. In favour: Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind); Cllr Owen Hanley (Soc Dem); Cllr Níall McNelis (Lab); Cllr Niall Murphy (Green); and Cllr Martina O’Connor (Green). Against: Cllr Imelda Byrne (FF); Cllr Alan Cheevers (FF); Cllr John Connolly (FF); Cllr Mike Crowe (FF); Cllr Frank Fahy (FG); Cllr Clodagh Higgins (FG); Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG); Cllr Peter Keane (FF); Cllr Noel Larkin (Ind); Cllr Donal Lyons (Ind); Cllr Terry O’Flaherty (Ind). Absent: Cllr Colette Connolly (Ind) and Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind).

Following this, only the two Green Party councillors opposed Cllr Lyons’ motion to proceed with a full review.
This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune, November 11. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

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