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CITY TRIBUNE

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

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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.

CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have unanimously agreed to ask Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to limit parking to residents only in the city centre.

Pedestrians in the city are being treated like second-class citizens, according to the Mayor, who said cars continued to get the priority on Galway’s streets.

At a meeting of the City Council this week, Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said the city had come to a standstill in car traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists were suffering the consequences.

“At junctions, why am I a second-class citizen in my own city as a pedestrian? It rains in Galway for 300 days of the year, but I am a second-class citizen when priority is given to motorists.

“It’s always the pedestrian that waits,” she said, hitting out at the length it took to get a green light to cross at pedestrian crossings.

One way to reduce the number of cars in the city centre would be to limit parking to residents only in the city centre, said the Mayor.

In a motion she proposed, seconded by Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind), councillors unanimously agreed to write to the Minister for Transport to demand he pass the necessary legislation to enable the Council to do this.

The Mayor said residents were “sick, sore and tired” of people parking where they wanted when they visited the city and said despite a desire to introduce this measure going back almost 20 years, the Council was hamstrung by national legislation that prevented them from proceeding.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The green light has been given for the construction of 345 apartments at the Crown Square site in Mervue – the majority of which will be put on the rental market and operated by a ‘cuckoo fund’ for a minimum of fifteen years.

Crown Square Developments, which is owned by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the ‘Build to Rent’ development, with four blocks ranging ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, six shops, a games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

A breakdown of the apartments shows there will be 240 two-beds; 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, along with shared access to another 109 spaces and another 13 for use by a ‘car club’. There will be 796 secure bicycle parking spaces to serve the apartments.

The Board has ordered that the apartments can only be used as long-term rentals, and none can be used for short-term lettings.

Under ‘Build to Rent’ guidelines, the development must be owned and operated by an institutional entity for a minimum period of 15 years and “where no individual residential units shall be sold separately for that period”. The 15-year period starts from the date of occupation of the first residential unit.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors divided over vote on Salthill Prom cycleway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to install a temporary two-way cycle lane along Salthill Promenade hangs in the balance, with city councillors split ahead of a vote next week.

On Monday night, the 18 city councillors will discuss Mayor Colette Connolly’s motion that the lane be installed on the coastal side of the road from Blackrock to a point opposite Galway Business School.

A poll of the councillors carried out by the Galway City Tribune yesterday found nine in favour of the proposal, with one indicating they will abstain. A simple majority is required and if there is a 9-9 split, the Mayor holds a ‘casting’ vote, effectively a second vote.

There has been a flurry of lobbying by cycling campaigners urging councillors to vote in favour, as well as some complaints from residents worried it will again impinge on their parking as visitors to Salthill seek somewhere to park up while they swim or walk along the most utilised resource the city has.

During lockdown, Gardaí removed parking on the Prom to deter people from gathering in a public space. This resulted in motorists blocking driveways and entering private estates, leading one estate off Threadneedle Road to hire a private clamping company.

Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) believes there are a maximum of 250 spaces that would be lost to the project on one side of the road as currently proposed, including seven disabled spaces, which could be reassigned close by.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the issue and to see how each councillor intends to vote, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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