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Proposals for Ardaun branded ‘wholly unsafe’ and ‘pie in the sky’



An advocacy group for cyclists in Galway has hit out at the “inherently car-dependent” proposals for the development of a new city suburb in Ardaun.

Galway Cycling Campaign have rejected claims that the new suburb would have good connectivity to the city and surrounding employment hubs – and said that the plans would only add cars to already gridlocked roads.

In September, Galway City Council released a ‘mini City Development Plan’ for Ardaun in which they outlined how construction of some 1,098 housing units on the east side of the city could start as early as 2019 – supporting an estimated 3,000 inhabitants.

Planners outlined a vision of “a place where cycling, walking and public transport is promoted and embedded through design, layout, appropriate use mixes and density standards”.

However, Public Relations Officer for Galway Cycling Campaign, Oisín Ó Nidh, said that the proposals lack any certainty in areas referencing pedestrian and cyclist access.

“It’s kind of pie in the sky stuff,” said Mr Ó Nidh. “A lot of it was set down without timelines or any concrete proposals – they don’t say, ‘we will do this’ or ‘we will build this before the housing’ – we don’t know when you would see some of these proposals.”

The campaign group have said that proposed access routes to the new residential area will be wholly unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians.

They point to evidence cited in the National Cycle Policy Framework (2009) which states that research carried out on the Swords Bypass in Dublin concluded that the accident rate for two-wheelers on roundabouts was five times higher than they were expecting.

Mr Ó Nidh said that the suggestion of creating an ‘urban village’ in Ardaun, similar to Salthill, is unsuitable given its intersection by the N6.

“That roundabout [Martin] is a big barrier for anyone trying to get to and from the Galway Clinic already – that is without thousands of people living in Ardaun.

“Bóthar an Chóiste on the Headford Road would be a better comparison because it is situated on a national road – that would make more sense.

“This is even worse than Knocknacarra because at least in Knocknacarra, cyclists and pedestrians don’t have to navigate their way along a busy dual-carriageway,” said Oisín.

The campaigners highlighted that the Council has mentioned a ‘public transport’ bridge in their proposals – linking Ardaun to Doughiska.

However, they criticised the fact that it is not a prerequisite for the development to proceed – with Mr Ó Nidh arguing that bridges over the N6 need to be front and centre to these plans.

“What they would really want to have is concrete proposals for a way to get people over that motorway – they need a different route because these proposals are just not feasible,” he said.

Mr Ó Nidh said that these proposals should be very carefully considered before any final development plan is signed off on.

“I would say they have to go back to the drawing board and build a concrete proposal of what they envisage this town to be.

“They need to make it a town where walking and cycling are supported.

“The big problem is that Ardaun was a concept before the motorway was even built – that kind of split it in two and they have been trying to work around that since,” he pointed out.


Old pre-fabs create a stink for University Hospital Galway



From the Galway City Tribune: The HSE has drawn up site-clearance plans for University Hospital Galway, to make way for what will eventually be the permanent Emergency Department and a new Women’s and Children’s block.

The health authority has blamed the old pre-fabs for “unacceptable foul odours” from the drainage system.

The HSE has now sought planning permission for the demolition of the temporary pre-fab offices used as for the segregation of the ‘old’ Emergency Department during the Covid pandemic and pre-fab buildings used for outpatients services and the building used for security.

At the end of last year, the new Temporary Emergency Department (TED) opened its doors – part of which will form the new €450m ED and Women and Children’s block which the HSE hopes will open in 2029.

“The removal of residual temporary buildings and two single-storey sections of the permanent buildings is now required to progress the clearance of the site for the proposed ED and Women’s & Children’s block.

“The demolition works include removing redundant mechanical and electrical services and utilities, which cross the site, and associated asbestos removal. They also include removal of site works such as concrete ramps, steps and railings.

“Notwithstanding the requirement to remove the buildings to clear the site, the greater part of the buildings have reached the end of their useful life.

“There are also significant infrastructural problems associated with them, particularly foul drainage. The buildings have been built over the existing foul drainage system and parts of it are inaccessible.

“There have been continuing maintenance difficulties, which have resulted in unacceptable foul odours and blockages.

This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. A one-year digital subscription costs just €89.00. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

“Reinstatement works comprise blocking up openings which previously formed links between the hospital main block and the buildings to be removed, reinstating roads and footpaths to a safe condition and temporary surfacing of the site.

“The existing consultants’ carpark will be reinstated to 2019 configuration, prior to the pandemic, to provide the same number of spaces at that time,” the application reads.

A demolition plan included as part of the application noted that if any asbestos is encountered on site, it must be transported under a hazardous waste licence to a landfill or hazardous waste facility by specialist contractors.

A decision is expected from Galway City Council at the beginning of May.

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New Galway transportation strategy will be published by end of year



From the City Tribune: A new Galway Transportation Strategy – to take account of the national Climate Action Plan 2023 – is due to be published by the end of this year, according to Green Party Minister, Eamon Ryan.

In reply to a Dáil question from Galway West Independent TD Catherine Connolly, the Transport Minister said that the new plan would also include a feasibility study on a light rail system for the city.

The revised Transportation Strategy, known as GMATS (Galway Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy), has already gone out to tender with the National Transport Authority (NTA) currently assessing the submissions received.

“A feasibility study of light rail will be undertaken as part of the development of the new strategy which will replace the current Galway Transport Strategy,” Minister Ryan stated in his reply to Deputy Connolly.

He added that once the tender assessment process was completed, the composition of the new strategy team would then be known.

“The NTA will undertake a comprehensive public consultation exercise on a draft GMATS as part of the development process, with an expected publication of a final strategy before the end of 2023,” Minister Ryan stated.

This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. A one-year digital subscription costs just €89.00. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

As well as the NTA, Galway City and County Councils are involved in the process which is designed to incorporate actions included in the Government’s Climate Action Plan 2023.

This plan, which was adopted by Government on December 21 last, takes account of the carbon budgets and sectoral emissions ceilings agreed by Cabinet earlier in 2022.

Some of the key goals in the Climate Action Plan include one in three cars to be electric by 2030 with walking, cycling and public transport to account for 50% of all daily trips.

GMATS is also expected to examine plans for the City Bypass Project which has been allocated a further €3 million in this year’s roads budget by Galway County Council.

Earlier this year, the High Court quashed a Bord Pleanála decision giving the go-ahead for the €600 million City Ring Road, because the Board did not consider the Climate Action Plan when they approved the project.

According to Oranmore area councillor, Liam Carroll, €33 million has already been spent on the Ring Road project. “I hope that is not a black hole,” he said.

In her Dáil question to Minister Ryan, Deputy Connolly, asked about the status of the preparations for carrying out the promised feasibility study of light rail in Galway.

She also wanted to know the status and membership of the specialist team involved in the updating of the Galway Transport Strategy over the coming months.

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Galway leak detection team flushed with success



A major leak detection programme uncovered the loss of around 850,000 litres of water each day near Taylor’s Hill.

Uisce Éireann, the rebranded Irish Water, compared the figure to the daily usage of the entire population of Ballinasloe and described it as “colossal”.

Gerry O’Donnell, Leakage Reduction Programme Manager, described the find on Rosary Lane as “one of the largest savings of our precious resource this year in the North-West Region.”

“It’s hard to understand that more than 850,000 litres of clean drinking water were disappearing underground every day. Water is a valuable resource and expensive to produce so finding this leak and successfully repairing it was of paramount importance.”

A spike in water usage in the Taylor’s Hill area was noticed by the City Council and Uisce Éireann. However, there was a challenge in identifying the exact location of the water loss on the underground public network as there was no water surfacing.

An assessment by the local authority’s leak detection crew followed. Step testing work coupled with specialised detection equipment allowed the team to pinpoint the location of the leak.

Kieran Garvey, Executive Engineer with Galway City Council, said: “For our leak detection team to have found this leak and the subsequent improvement to the network is a massive win.”

Gerry O’Donnell added: “The finding of this leak is testament to the expertise and knowledge within Galway City Council’s Find and Fix crews.”

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