A local councillor has welcomed confirmation that Galway’s Western Distributor Road to get segregated cycle lanes which will help link residential areas to five schools and possibly end the need for the Galway Cycle Bus.
Cllr Alan Curran (Social Democrats) said he enthusiastically welcomes provision in Galway City Council’s 2024 budget to include the construction of segregated cycle lanes on the Western Distributor Road from the Cappagh Road to the Deane Roundabout.
Ahead of issuing a press release this morning, he said in a tweet that the project will be “transformative for Knocknacarra and beyond” and that, along with the Clybaun Road and Bothar Stiofáin Active Travel Schemes, this could be the end of the Cycle Bus and “the beginning of safe, independent cycling for those students in nearby schools.”
At a talk at the Velo-City cycling conference held in Dublin in 2019, he said that he wanted the Cycle Bus “to be obsolete in six years” and that the larger goal was to enable children to cycle independently.
This morning, Cllr Curran said: “This is fantastic news. For the last 6 years, a team of us from the Galway Cycle Bus have been cycling groups of primary school students to school because the existing painted cycle lanes are completely inadequate for safe cycling. There are 5 schools with over 2,000 students adjacent to this road. Safe cycling options are essential for the community, impacting daily commuting, shopping trips, and access to pitches and playing facilities.”
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“The proposed cycle lanes would have a positive impact on traffic, are cost-effective, easily funded, and present a straightforward, uncontroversial solution,” he said.
Cllr Curran added: “I’d like to thank the Active Travel Team in the council for listening to the concerns of the community and working with all stakeholders to accelerate this project. I’d also like to thank all the councillors in Galway West who lobbied hard for this project over the years, and who joined us on the cycle bus on many occasions to experience for themselves the dangers facing children and students as they cycle to school or college.”
Cllr Curran said that the Siobhan McKenna Road in Westside will see a similar intervention with an upgrade to cycling facilities along this stretch and that the design of both schemes will commence in early 2024.
Neasa Bheilbigh, an organiser of the Galway Cycle Bus, said: “We are delighted to finally see safe cycling infrastructure being installed on the Western Distributor Road. This will provide an essential part of Safe Routes to School in Knocknacarra and beyond, connecting future schemes on Clybaun Road and Bóthar Stiofán.”
She added: “It’s vital that the infrastructure design is child-centred so families feel safe and confident cycling to school. Hopefully, the CycleBus will be out of business before too long.”
Galway City Council has been contacted this morning for comment on when it expects the project to be built and if it will be a quick-build project.