— Arguing for the status quo is like saying the asteroid will bring jobs.
COMMENT & ANALYSIS: I’ve now read pages of articles and a stupid volume of Facebook comments on the Salthill cycle route, and I’ve also covered these types of issues for over a decade. I can safely say that all of the central arguments against the planned route are echoes of what has been said in other parts of Ireland and around the world.
If you want a better, safer, healthier, more environmentally-friendly, more attractive Galway City, then you should show your support for the cycle route. One project cannot change the world at once and it won’t be perfect, but if you want Galway to take its first steps towards substantial change, this is your chance to show it.
Please don’t back the scaremongering or sit on the sideline: Before 4pm on Friday, January 28, click here to fill out the public consultation survey or support one of the options by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It doesn’t have to be long or detailed, just make your support known to the council and directly to your councillors if you can.
You can view the project drawings showing Options 1 and 2 here. The basic difference between the options is that Option 1 retains more car parking by making the road one-way between the Blackrock diving board and the larger roundabout beside Salthill Village, while Option 2 keeps that section of road clear by removing some of the on-street parking on that stretch. The Galway Cycling Campaign said they are supporting Option 2 mainly because it affects buses less.
Just to be clear: This isn’t coming from “somebody in Dublin”. As a Mayo person who is back living in there, Galway is our closest city, it’s a city I’ve visited since childhood by car and bus, and one that I now bring my children to.
Common issues and some sollutions
- What about people with disabilities who need to drive? There’s extra disabled parking planned already. If the concerns around providing such were real, people would be asking for more disabled spaces, not to cancel a segregated cycle path. At the moment the people calling for extra disabled spaces are cycling campaigners and others supporting the cycle route.
- What about people who cannot walk far? People who cannot walk far are entitled to a Disabled Person’s Parking Card.
- But all of the parking will be removed? No, it won’t. That’s clear misinformation. The bulk of parking in Salthill will be retained.
- What about the side streets? It was crazy during lockdown when the car parks were closed and on-street parking was banned along the seafront!!! The car parks will remain open and most of the on-street parking in Salthill will also remain open. So, it won’t be like in lockdown.
- But old people will not be able to park beside the sea and look out! The seaside off-street car park will still be there. As well as extra disabled parking spaces, age-friendly parking spaces could also be located along the seaside in the car park.
- But won’t traffic be crazy at peak tourist season? Sorry to answer with another question: But isn’t traffic always crazy in Salthill at any busy time? It is often claimed that extra traffic congestion will happen around these projects, but the reality is that these projects rarely cause such problems.
- What about emergency services, won’t it slow them down? Option 2 is mainly making car parking space into a two-way cycle path. So, if the cycle path does not go ahead, should the council replace the parking with an emergency lane? Does your concern about emergency services include any roads in the city where there are no cycle lanes but lots of congestion? Anyway: The Coastal Mobility Route in Dún Laoghaire shows that if the cycle path is built wide enough it can operate as an emergency lane where needed, this is the case for similar cycle paths around the world.
- What about businesses? Businesses have opened along the Coastal Mobility Route in Dún Laoghaire and example after example shows that these kinds of projects are good for businesses.
- What about tourists? Again, these types of projects are good for businesses and that includes tourism. Think about the success stories that the Mayo and Waterford greenways have been — Galway can tap into that success and once the Salthill route is shown to be a success it can be expanded towards the city centre and westwards.
- There are rubbish bits! I don’t like parts of it, so I cannot support it! Get angry at the objectors then. As with most projects like this, they get in the way of having a meaningful discussion on how to do projects like this while mimising the effect on everybody.
Have we missed anything? Happy to add to this list.
Great summary Cian. This article could almost serve as a template for addressing concerns, both real and imagined, of residents in many areas where cycle lanes are planned.