Mixed response to traffic report
A new traffic report for the city was criticised at Monday’s meeting of Galway City Council, with a number of councillors saying the publication “told us nothing we didn’t know already”.
The ‘Galway Transport- Engage for a Liveable City’ report was presented to councillors at City Hall on Monday following a lengthy public engagement process on the issues of traffic flow and congestion in the city.
Spearheaded by Mayor Hildegarde Naughton, the Galway Transport Forum initiative aimed to identify short-term measures to improve traffic flow in the city.
However, following a presentation on its findings by Brendan Mulligan of Engineers Ireland, reaction from the council members was less than enthusiastic.
While certain recommendations included in the report, such as the repainting of yellow boxes and encouragement of car-pooling, were welcomed, a number of councillors said the overall report simply highlighted issues that had been previously discussed at council level and questioned whether the project could effectively make a difference.
However, Mr Mulligan hit back, saying it was a “terrible indictment” that the ideas had been out there for so long and “nothing has been done”, with Mayor Naughton also calling on councillors to see the publication as an opportunity for a fresh approach to solving traffic issues in the city.
New figures released by Galway Transport Forum showed that there were 1,300 engagements from the public over the course of the project, with 257 people filling out online questionnaires, 189 leaving comments, 100 filling out on-street studies and 671 submissions from local schools.
There were over 3,500 hits to the project’s website at www.galwaytf.com and Mr Mulligan said the high level of engagement had shown that the Galway public were behind the report and supportive of the changes that needed to be made.
Other suggestions put forward to increase traffic flow in the city included the removal of a right-hand turn at Raven’s Terrace, changing of sequencing of the lights at certain areas of the city, including Newcastle Road and a new campaign to improve public transport for schools in the area after 66 per cent of respondents said they would use a school bus if there was one available in their area.
A number of motions to improve traffic in the area were then passed during the debate but a proposal by Cllr Collette Connolly to call for a “zero tolerance policy on illegal parking during the month of May” caused controversy after her colleagues questioned whether this would apply to mourners attending removals and funeral services in the city.
Cllr Connolly remained steadfast in her request, saying that it should apply to all illegal parking “regardless of circumstances” but the motion was subsequently defeated in a majority vote.