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Galway starts to kiss goodbye to kissing gates


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galway starts to kiss goodbye to kissing gates Galway starts to kiss goodbye to kissing gates

Cyclists will gleefully kiss goodbye to a kissing gate at an entrance to Terryland Forest Park as the City Council continue works to enhance connectivity in the area.

However, activists who promote the park said this should be the first step towards delivering a long-sought-after pedestrian and cycle bridge over the Corrib from the forest park to the Dyke Road.

The gate, which was located on the corner of the Headford Road and the Seán Mulvoy Road junction, was removed after years of vocal campaigning.

The kissing gates, which were initially installed to stop scramblers entering the forest park in the early 2000s, created problems for cyclists, those with limited mobility and children’s buggies.

Veteran environmental campaigner, Brendan Smith, who was among the founding visionaries of Terryland Forest Park, said the gates removal was hugely welcome.

“It is great news and well done to Galway City Council and the community, environmental and cycling organisations who long lobbied for their abolition that, at long last, the first kissing gate in Galway City is being removed – an obstacle to wheelchair users, cyclists, and parents with buggies,” said Mr Smith.

Mr Smith said the Tuatha of Terryland Forest Park had been informed that the works ongoing on the gate would also include the installation of the first pedestrian crossing linking two parts of the park on the Liosbán Road, and a further pedestrian crossing on Sandy Road.

In addition, the old Sandy Bridge is to be ‘spruced up’, and all these works taken together would, “lead to the creation of an impressive greenway” stretching from Riverside to the Seán Mulvoy Road.

“Visitors and the residents of Galway City will greatly benefit from being immersed in a unique urban natural landscape, rich in wildlife and reminiscent of ancient Irish temperate rainforests,” said Mr Smith, adding that next year would be the forest park’s 25th anniversary.

In light of recent findings from a National Transport Authority (NTA) survey, which showed 88% of the 1,100 city residents surveyed “support building cycle tracks physically separated from traffic and pedestrians, even where that means less room for other traffic”.

Mr Smith said this should encourage the City Council to “finally, after years of delays, move forward in the construction of a pedestrian and cycling bridge across the River Corrib”.

“It would connect Terryland Forest Park in the Dyke Road area into the Connemara Greenway and on to Clifden. The Dyke Road has the potential to be a greenway and a blueway of international significance,” he said.

The City Council committed last year to removing kissing gates at three locations in the city as part of a pilot basis – two at South Park in the Claddagh in addition to the one at Terryland.

Councillors were told in October that should these three gates’ removal prove successful, the policy would be rolled out in other areas.

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