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Traffic mayhem expected in Galway

Ciaran Tierney

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The Tuam Road and Headford Road have been identified as two of the worst bottlenecks in the country as Galway motorists have been issued with a fresh warning that they face the worst traffic chaos in years over the next few months.

AA Roadwatch have warned that a rise in new car sales is set to add to congestion on the city’s roads on a scale not seen since the economic collapse occurred in 2008.

The organisation, which provides regular traffic updates, has noted a significant increase in congestion in the cities of Dublin, Cork, and Galway this year.

“Traffic volumes are up across the road network and we are seeing that every day,” said AA Roadwatch spokesperson Arwen Foley. “We are expecting the months from now until Christmas to be the busiest in years.”

She said that improvements to the economy were likely to lead to increased congestion on the roads, while car ownership had doubled over the past 25 years.

Ms Foley said that the Tuam Road and Headford Road were two of the heaviest routes for traffic across the entire country this year, as they are regularly mentioned on morning radio bulletins.

However, a Galway City Council spokesman said a number of measures taken by the local authority would ensure that there would be no return to the traffic jams of the “boom” years.

The spokesman pointed out that the new Urban Traffic Management Centre (UTMC) allowed traffic levels to be altered on demand, while the conversion of a number of roundabouts into signalised junctions also facilitated the flow of vehicles across the city.

He pointed out that the decision to postpone the Lough Atalia bridge enhancement scheme until mid-January would also help to avoid increased congestion in the run-up to the Christmas period.

The successful pre-Christmas ‘park and ride’ scheme is also set to keep cars off the city roads during the peak shopping season.

“The Headford Road is an issue and will continue to be an issue while we have a roundabout on it,” said the spokesman. “We have seen that the replacement of roundabouts by signalised junctions has greatly improved the flow of traffic across the city.”

He said that the local authority would engage consultants to plan the transformation of the Kirwan Roundabout for the second time in two years early in 2015.

The spokesman said the success of the UTMC, which allows staff to change traffic signals in response to tail-backs, was evident during a busy festival season in July.

He also suggested that commuters needed to consider the options of using public transport, cycling, or walking to work or places of education if Galway is to tackle its traffic congestion problems.

“It is great that there is an indication the economy is beginning to recover,” said the spokesman. “But we still have a limited road network in and around the city. We have a capacity issue. With respect to AA Roadwatch, their focus is on motorists on our roads.

“We need to get away from the model of a single commuter in a single car. We understand where AA Roadwatch are coming from, but there are the needs of cyclists, pedestrians, and public transport users to consider as well. The development of the new signalised junctions has improved commuting times for these commuters.”

CITY TRIBUNE

Party-goers in Galway hit with Covid fines

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway’s most senior Garda has issued a renewed appeal this week for young people to desist from organising or attending any house parties as the local Covid-19 situation worsens – last week Gardaí were called to break up a number of gatherings in different parts of the city.

A total of 15 people were found to be attending one house party in the Salthill area last weekend while Gardaí were called to two other smaller gatherings – one in the Doughiska area and the other in Rahoon.

Cautions and Fixed Payment Notices (fines) were issued to a number of those involved. This week, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley has pleaded with young people ‘to stay away at all costs’ from such gatherings.

“We have very high Covid incidence rates in the Galway area over the past week; death rates from the disease are at their highest ever level; and the last thing we need now is groups of people coming together in confined settings.

“If one person has Covid at such a gathering then, in all probability, most others there will pick it up too and spread it their contacts and family members. I am pleading for people just not to do this.

“We are entering into our most critical period in trying to contain the spread of Covid-19, with the next month or so absolutely vital in our efforts to keep everyone healthy and safe and to try and avoid further loss of life,” he said.
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

Community gives new lease of life to Merlin allotments

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – In 2018, the allotments in Merlin Woods were in danger of falling by the wayside, with declining numbers and underuse blighting a facility that had huge potential.

Since then, the community has pulled together to create a space that locals are proud of and one that its advocates are hoping could be a template for other communities across the city.

Chairperson of the Committee behind this new lease of life is Michael Tully, who says the allotments have become a focal point for area, bringing together locals from all walks of life.

“It’s all about netting the community together and the response we’re getting has been unbelievable,” says Michael, who joined the committee in 2018.

“I started off as a user of Merlin Woods, walking by the allotments and thinking to myself that it would be great to grow my own fruit and veg.

“I started talking to a few of the plot-holders like John Rabbitte, Martin Lohan, Jim McCormack and Daithí O’Brien and they told me how to apply. I applied to the City Council and got my allotment in early 2018 and there were about eight allotments in use at that stage, all of us working away on our own.”

Two years later, all 42 allotments are in use, but it took the cooperation of Galway City Council and Trojan work from the community to get it to this point, explains Michael.

“We came down here every Saturday to clear the paths, dig out the weeds and make the place better. The sense of community was unbelievable. Anyone who couldn’t dig was bringing down flasks of tea and cakes to those that were,” he laughs.
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

National Transport Authority to progress Galway’s Park and Ride

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A dedicated unit established within the National Transport Authority will look at the potential of Park and Ride to help solve Galway City’s traffic congestion problem.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, said that Park and Ride facilities should not be restricted to the east, and sites needed to be located to the west and north-west to take account of commuters from Connemara.

Mr McGrath said Park and Ride would be advanced this year as part of the Galway Transport Strategy. He said that the Council, in conjunction with the dedicated unit within the NTA, would investigate feasible sites for the location of Park and Ride facilities.

Mr McGrath said that site selection and acquisition of land could commence in the second quarter of this year. He said he expected that Park and Ride would be progressed well before the Galway City Ring Road was built.

Director of Services for Transport, Ruth McNally, also said that the NTA was looking at the potential of sites in the city for Park and Ride and she insisted that money – or a lack of it – was not halting progress.

“Money is not a major issue for capital projects,” she said.

They were responding at Monday’s City Council meeting to councillors who lamented the slow progress on developing Park and Ride.
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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