Fears growing Galway councillors will vote against Salthill cycle path trial

— Minister Ryan says decision is councillors’ to make, but funding is available.

— Delaying means a future generation of Galwegians growing up without safe route says Galway Cycling Campaign.

A sense of fear is growing in Galway City that councillors will vote against a trial of a cycle path in Salthill. A vote on a quick-build trial is expected to be held later today.

Mayor Colette Connolly (Independent) has a motion, set to be discussed and voted on, which says: “That Galway City Council shall urgently seek to create a two way segregated cycle track on a temporary basis along the coastal side of Salthill promenade, specifically the R336 from the junction with Grattan Road up to where the R336 meets with the R337, and shall immediately apply for Covid-19 funding or any available alternative source of funding to facilitate this.”

In a video published on social media today , transport and climate change Eamon Ryan said that the decision is up to councillors but that if they vote for the trial that Government will provide funding for it.

Minister Ryan said: “People will know, they will have heard my views. I’d love to see this sort of cycle lane go in. I think it would be transformative and beneficial for Galway. It’s up to the council to decide. They have the call on this.”

On funding, Minister Ryan said: “The one thing I suppose, to give real clarity and certainty: The funding will be there. If we can’t spend it in Galway we might spend it in Dublin, or Cork or Limerick. But I would love to invest in Galway.”

He added: “And actually this sort of project to my mind could be transformative to get our kids to school, to get great exercise, to get to work, to bring tourism, to transform the sense of public space. So, I wish you luck with whatever the vote is tonight. Certainly we will do everything to help to build the facility, including funding if it does go that way.”

In a statement, the Galway Cycling Campaign said: “To delay safe cycling again is to deny safe cycling, again. Delaying sustainable transport solutions is denying the climate crisis that we, and future generations of Galwegians, face right now.”

It said what it called much-needed coastal flood defences will include a permanent cycleway, but that is at “best guess is at least seven years from now”. The campaign said: “So, by 2028, children in Baby Infants today will be studying for their Junior Cert. About half of all city schools are within 1km of the proposed route.”

The campaign said that there is strong local support for the trial and that yesterday over 200 people of all ages pedalled through the streets of Galway calling for a trial Salthill Cycleway.

The group said: “The trial Salthill Cycleway is an essential part of the consultation process [for a more permanent solution]… A trial Salthill Cycleway will be an inexpensive test, relative to the cost and potential impact of future permanent projects. Lived experience will provide fast and powerful feedback, and will inform any future plans for permanent cycling infrastructure in Salthill.”

The Galway Cycling Campaign added: “We have proposed actions to address specific concerns: allocate the seafront row of car parking spaces at Seapoint to Age Friendly courtesy spaces and Blue Badge spaces only; allocate more such designated spaces at Seapoint, Leisureland and Claude Toft council car parks, and ask private car park owners to do the same; add more pedestrian crossings along the Prom. Council engineers are the appropriate professionals to examine moving on-Prom car parking from the coastal side of the road to the other side of the road.”

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