Amendments to cycle plan ‘could put funds at risk’September 25, 2012 - 7:30am
BY FRANK FARRAGHER
APPROVAL for a new walking and cycling strategy blueprint for the city looks set to drag on after councillors sought to table a number of amendments to the plan last night.
Acting Director of Services, Joe Tansey, warned that the Smarter Travel strategy for walking and cycling, needed to be adopted in order to free up funding for projects into the future – other cities, he said, were already ahead of Galway with their plans.
However, after a two and a half hour debate on the strategy at last evening’s City Council meeting, councillors said that they wanted several amendments to the plan to be taken.
Mr Tansey, however, said that the report had been ‘through the hoops’ over the past two years at different stages and he added that he wouldn’t be in a position to take ‘on the spot’ amendments relating to the strategy at last night’s meeting.
He had told councillors that the Galway City and Environs Walking and Cycling Strategy was not a specific design project, but was a broad policy document outlining a strategy for making Galway a far more user friendly city for pedestrians and cyclists.
Mr Tansey said that in relation to cycling, the aim of the strategy was to encourage all people to ‘get on their bikes’, from children to occasional cyclists, to more dedicated bike enthusiasts, and also to those who might never have cycled before.
He stressed that a fundamental part of the strategy had to be based on safety, as any scheme would have to go through a safety audit.
“What I would stress to councillors is that they do need to adopt this report to access funding. We, like a lot of other cities, are fishing in the same pond for limited resources.
Martin McElligott, Senior Executive Engineer, who presented a summary of the walking and cycling report to the meeting, said that 52% of people travelling to work or education in the city had journeys of less than four kilometres.
He outlined that there were four main cycle-walkways planned for the city area – Barna to Oranmore, the Corrib to the coastline, Ardaun to Knocknacarra and Menlo Castle to the city centre.
However while most councillors supported the overall strategy and principle of the report, several tabled specific amendments to the report.
Joe Tansey told councillors that if some of the amendments were adopted, they could end up having the effect of preventing the City Council from drawing down funding for certain parts of the plan.
Part of the long term plan involves pedestrianisation of Cross Street, Middle Street and Raven’s Terrace, .
Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel