Press Release -24th February 2015.
Rejection of the N6 Transport Project a turning point and a golden opportunity for Galway City! –Councillor Catherine Connolly.
Councillor Connolly said the outrage expressed at the public meeting in the Westwood Hotel last Thursday Night at all six road options on public display as part of the N6 Transport Project hopefully marks a real turning point and the start of a rational debate on what is best for our City.
Cllr Connolly said the organizers of the public meeting, the N6 Action group deserve our thanks for taking the first step in starting a real debate on how to solve the traffic congestion in the City while at the same time preserving the unique character of Galway.
She said the packed meeting of over 700 people almost to a person rejected out of hand all of the routes including the red, green, blue, orange, yellow and pink.
At the same time however what was heart lifting she said was the call for alternative and sustainable solutions to the problem and not more roads.
Cllr Connolly said this was a distinct turning point and a move away from the mantra which has dominated political debate in Galway for over sixteen years i.e. that an Outer By Pass was the only solution.
This mantra prevailed even after the judgement of the Supreme and the European Court made it absolutely clear that the outer by pass could not go ahead and even after the wording had to be tortuously removed from the Galway City Development Plan.
Unfortunately she said it seems to have taken the publication of the N6 project with the six routes and the outrage of the public to make the local TDs, and the majority of local Councillors realise that the project is not acceptable.
In this regard what is needed said Cllr Connolly is for Councillors on both Councils to withdraw their support from the N6 project and she has tabled a motion for the next City Council Meeting in early March.
Of course she said it is open to the executive to ignore such a motion given that the power in relation to this project lies with the executive of both the City and County Council and also the NRA.
However if the motion is passed unanimously by the Council(s) it will send a clear message to the executive that there is no political will/support for this project at Council Level nor indeed at TD level given the views expressed by all the local TDs at the recent public meeting.
Furthermore the monies allocated for the project should now be spent on looking at real alternative short and long term solutions.
One of the simplest of course said Cllr Connolly is simply to provide bus services for schools and lift the traffic congestion at peak times.
Another is to make use of the unused industrial zoned land on the West Side of the City. In relation to this land she said it is high time that the Department of Enterprise began to work in partnership with the City Council in order to locate enterprises/companies etc on this side of the City. It makes absolutely no sense she said to have tracts of industrial land lying vacant in the Knocknacarra area and people travelling across and/or into the city to source work.
Moreover the failure to introduce Park and Ride facilities on the West and East Side of Galway City ten years after this specific objective became part of our City Development Plan in 2005 is completely unacceptable and has allowed the traffic congestion to deteriorate.
Further the roll out of extra and regular bus services along with the urgent provision of bus shelters is an integral component of any integrated public transport solution together with extending the rental bike scheme to Salthill, GMIT and the suburbs.
Also the complete failure to look in any realistic way at the provision of light rail in Galway as part of the solution to our traffic congestion beggars belief she said.
It has been used in many cities of comparable size in Europe and elsewhere and yet was simply dismissed by the Consultants as too expensive.