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Public bike scheme a ‘complete hames’

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A map of the bike stand locations around the city centre.

BY ENDA CUNNINGHAM AND DARA BRADLEY

If you’re planning a long trip across the Galway City from docking station to station on the new public bike scheme which launched on Monday, think again.

Because the longest possible journey between docking stations will be just 1.5km – from Fr Griffin Road to the Headford Road.

That compares to 5.8km in Dublin City; 3.1km in Cork and 2.4km in Limerick.

A comparison of the public bike schemes in the four cities by the Galway City Tribune found the shortest ‘long journeys’ were found here.

The scheme – which saw nearly 200 ‘Coca-Cola Zero’ bikes on the streets on Monday – has already come in for criticism, because there are no docking stations in Salthill or in areas close to NUI Galway and GMIT.

There are a total of 17 docking stations across the Galway City – with ‘docks’ for almost 340 bikes – while another station is under review with a further 30 spaces.

A station at the tourist office on the Fairgreen with 20 docks has been postponed until early next year due to roadworks.

The stations are at: Headford Road; Woodquay; County Hall; City Hall;    Cathedral; Gaol Road; Fairgreen; Newtownsmyth; Browne Doorway; Eyre Square south; Mainguard St; City Library; Merchants Road; Spanish Arch; Claddagh Basin; New Dock St and Fr Burke Road.

City councillor Billy Cameron accused the National Transport Authority of making a “complete hames” of the bike scheme, claiming that ‘Dublin 4’ engineers hadn’t a clue about the lay-of-the-land locally when they attempted to roll-out docking stations for the bike scheme.

He slammed the NTA for the manner in which it chose the sites for the bike scheme in the city, and for its lack of real consultation with locals. Cllr Cameron said the NTA, “not for the first time” was found wanting in relation to the delivery of public transport in Galway.

He said last year when the NTA re-drew the city’s bus routes, it ignored local input, which resulted in problems for bus users on the new network.  Cllr Cameron warned the NTA they would “meet their Waterloo” if they continued to ignore local input.

Meanwhile, Cllr Catherine Connolly said she was delighted that issues relating to the location of some docking stations have been resolved and the “wonderful scheme” can be rolled out.

Cllr Connolly said she and members of the Claddagh Residents’ Association had raised serious safety concerns about the proposed site on the island outside the GTI and about Merchants Road.

“Fortunately the Council has now agreed to install the docking station at a site near the GTI which is much more suitable and safer,” she said.

The bikes can be hired once a customer has registered at bikeshare.ie (€5 registration fee for 12 months, although this will increase to €10 in January).

Once registered, the bikes are free for the first half-hour; 50c for up to one hour; €1.50 for up to two hours; €3.50 for up to three hours; €6.50 for up to four hours and then €2 for every extra half-hour.

CITY TRIBUNE

Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill as event confirmed

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill this weekend as an event has been announced for Sunday.

It’s been confirmed by organisers on social media – who say they’re being unfairly portrayed in a negative light.

In a statement, the Galway Car Scene group say they pay road tax like all other road users – and they have “every right” to be in Salthill this weekend.

It comes as they’ve confirmed the event will be taking place there on Sunday as originally planned.

They add it’s unfair to accuse them of blocking up Salthill and other parts of the city given the chronic traffic issues every day of the week.

They’ve also created an online petition calling for a designated place for car enthusiasts to go – which has so far gathered almost 250 signatures.

It claims the car enthusiast community in Galway has been unfairly painted as a negative and anti-social group.

The group say they’re happy to go elsewhere, but say any time they try to find a venue they’re shut out.

The event planned for Sunday has encountered significant opposition, much of which is based on a previous “Salthill Sundays” event held in May.

Those opposed say they’re not against an event of this kind in principle – but they strongly feel that Salthill just isn’t the right venue.

It’s also argued that if the organisers want to be taken seriously, they have to engage with stakeholders like Galway City Council and Gardaí to ensure a well-planned and safe event.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cars down to one-way system on Salthill Promenade

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A one-way system of traffic may be introduced along the Promenade in Salthill to facilitate the introduction of temporary cycle lanes.

The suggestion appeared to come as a shock to some City Council members who supported the cycle lane in a vote last month – one has called for a “full discussion again” on what exactly they had actually approved.

Councillors had voted 17-1 in favour of the principle of providing a cycleway that will stretch from Grattan Road all along the Prom.

The motion that passed at the September meeting proposed that the Council “shall urgently seek” to create a two-way segregated cycle track on a temporary basis along the coastal side of the Prom.

It was agreed that from the Blackrock Tower junction to the Barna Road would be a one-way cycle track.

The motion was voted on without debate, which meant Council officials did not have an opportunity to question the proposal.

At a meeting on Monday, the debate was revisited when Uinsinn Finn, Director of Services for Transportation, indicated that a one-way traffic system would be introduced in Salthill to facilitate a two-way cycle lane from Grattan Road to Blackrock.

This could mean that the outbound lane of traffic, closest to the sea, could be closed to all traffic bar bikes.

Mr Finn said that he would have sought clarity at the previous meeting – if debate were allowed – about what was meant by ‘temporary’.

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

Galway Christmas Market gets go-ahead for next month

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It’s the first real sign of a restoration of normality in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors in the city – the return of the Christmas Market next month to Eyre Square.

This week, the City Council’s planning department gave the go-ahead for the outdoor retail and gourmet food ‘spread’ that has been part of the festive season in Galway since 2010.

The exception was last year when, like so many other public gatherings since the Covid crisis broke in March 2020, the event had to be cancelled because of public health concerns.

Christmas Market Organiser, Maria Moynihan Lee, Managing Director of Milestone Inventive, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that she had received official confirmation on Thursday from the City Council of the go-ahead being given for the event.

“This is really wonderful news for the city and especially so in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors. For every €1 spent at the market another €3 will be spent on the high street – this will be a real boost for Galway,” she said.

Maria Moynihan Lee confirmed that the market would have an earlier than usual start of Friday, November 12 and would run through until the Wednesday evening of December 22.

(Photo: Declan Colohan)

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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