COMMENT & ANALYSES: It’s great that the GAA are banning single-use plastic items such as straws and cutlery at their main stadium, Croke Park, but sustainability for the sports organisation can’t stop at plastic.
The GAA — as both a sports body and the host of large-scale music events around the country — needs to start acting responsible in terms of its traffic management plans for sport and music events across the country.
While other countries might not be perfect, many of them least they try. With measures such as keeping bus lanes open and ramping up bus services; offering free or discounted public transport as part of their event tickets; offering park and ride to people coming from far away where venues are in the middle of towns and cities; and keeping cycle routes open and offering free, convenient and guarded event bicycle parking.
But this is Ireland in 2018. We claim we support sustainability, while actively blocking it all for car use.
Currently the GAA, local authorities and the Gardai (besides a few Garda districts) are acting with two faces — saying they support sustainability and then, not just acting in a unsustainable way, but allowing travel to events at GAA venues to impact on people just trying to get around town and cities in a healthy, safe and sustainable way.
GAA matches are legendary for match goers abandoning their cars — including parking along cycle lanes and footpaths across the country. But the problems are also institutional ones that go beyond lack of enforcement.
One example we have covered in detail is the GAA, Dublin City Council and Gardai working together facilitating coaches parking in cycle paths in Dublin. The GAA alone could say stop.
And a new low is the traffic management plan in Galway last week including opening bus lanes, and curtailing bus services, (and, in the process, needlessly putting the bus lanes open to all traffic signs on cycle paths):
Galway city council blocked a cycle lane with a sign that tells that bus lane is opened to traffic. pic.twitter.com/CBdS2moMNM
— Paul Gaillimh (@PGaillimh) May 27, 2018
We wish to advise customers in Galway City that Route 401 will operate a curtailed route from 14:00 to 18:00 on Sunday 03 June 18, to facilitate traffic flow prior to and directly after the Connaught Football Semi Final. – https://t.co/VHLgjYwmdk
— Bus Eireann (@Buseireann) May 31, 2018
— Cosáin (@cosaingalway) May 27, 2018
And, let’s be clear about this: Not inconveniencing car use is why bus lanes were closed in Galway and why coaches park on cycle paths rather than the roadway in Dublin.
The things they do in other countries would be great in Ireland, an easy start would be to keep bus and cycle lanes open.