Date Published: 21-Apr-2011
Hesitation. What an excellent initial response there was in the past week by our City Fathers to the proposal that we might replace any number of roundabouts with sets of traffic lights somewhat akin to those at Moneenageisha Cross.
This was no anti high-tech knee-jerk – this had to be the voice of reason and caution which was sibilantly whispering in the ears of at least some of the city councillors when someone came along with a €6 million solution that would transform all our lives.
Silly me! And there was I thinking that if you had a huge growth in traffic in Galway, and you built a motorway from Dublin to Galway, and then didn’t build the €400 million outer bypass to carry half of that traffic past the city because you wanted to preserve part of a slab of rock, you would have problems no matter how many sets of traffic
lights you put into action . . . or roundabouts!
The alleged solution looked all the more attractive when it was couched in high-tech language and seemed like it might be somewhat easily financed from the National Roads Authority; it would mean less congestion and that we would all be healthier because many more of us would be on bikes or walking the average 2 kilometres to work, though in some cases the average would be nearer to 4k.
Here, I have to point out, in the interests of fairness, that the proposal does predict a reduction in private car use if routes are more amenable to other road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. It also has to be said that previous route planning in Galway looked almost totally to the private car and left all others to take their chances on a hugely unfriendly system for commuters.
Under the plan as outlined last week, one of the economic clinchers would be that, according to consultants, for every euro spent, there would be a €4 cost benefit to us in terms of lifestyle, traffic movement and so on.
Like many another citizen of this traffic-snarled town I have become cautious in the face of apparently wizard solutions . . . one doesn’t wish to be churlish about this, but remember the Eyre Square transformation plans? And wasn’t it only a few years ago we were being told that roundabouts were the solution?
In other words, I reserve the right to be cautious . . . especially if someone tells me that, if there is a problem with this new traffic lights structure around the city, then someone in an office in the city will be able to change the lights at the flick of a switch.
To which my sceptical answer in the light of what we have endured in recent years has to be – Yeah? This from a local authority which appeared to play ‘Russian Roulette’ for months on end with the ‘intelligent’ lights at Moneenageisha Cross before they eventually appeared to work to their full potential.
My further reservation – and this may be in the minds of the city councillors – is that, if we multiply the potential fiddling about with ‘intelligent lights’ at up to six sets of new junctions, as a driver, am I likely to end up in ‘therapy’, or in a ditch somewhere between Salthill and Doughiska?
I may be greying and some say ‘losing it’, but in some things I am cursed with a long memory. Question me as to precisely where I was last Thursday and there may be a great hesitation on my part, but weren’t the now-hated roundabouts welcomed as a remarkable intervention no too many years ago?
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Retail industry trade body welcomes B&Q announcement
Date Published: 07-May-2013
Retail Excellence Ireland, the country’s largest retail industry trade body, has welcomed the news that 60 jobs have been saved at the city branch of B&Q.
It’s after the home improvements store successfully exited examinership.
Under the scheme, 2.4 million euro is to be invested by parent company Kingfisher plc, and B and Q will continue to trade at eight stores
This means 640 jobs have been saved nationwide, including 60 at the outlet in Knocknacarra.
However, David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence Ireland says landlords need to be willing to help out smaller retailers too.
Foundation reports nine Galway heart deaths each week
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Nine people die in Galway every week from heart disease and stroke.
That’s according to the Irish Heart Foundation, which is launching its Happy Hearts Appeal today. (9/5)
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, launched the appeal today to help raise funds for the charity, which has seen increasing demand on its patient services.
The Foundation says it needs to raise at least half a million euro to maintain existing information services.
Call to tackle delays at Oranmore rail crossing
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Concerns have been raised over traffic delays at the railway crossing in Oranmore.
Councillor Jim Cuddy says he has received many representations from local motorists who have been experiencing extended delays.
He says the closed barrier can sometimes cause a traffic tailback as far as the roundabout near the Maldron hotel.
Cllr Cuddy has brought the matter to the attention of Iarnrod Eireann and has asked for an explanation as to why the crossing is closed for so long.