There is a general acceptance that there is a significant traffic problem in Galway City and that the City has developed a national reputation as “Grid-Lock City”. The traffic congestion that exists currently in the city is negatively impacting on all those living and working in the city and also on the economy of the city and region, in terms of attracting industry, tourism and commercial activity.
Significant planning and resources will be required to deliver the infrastructure and systems necessary to remove all of the congestion in the city and deliver a sustainable transport system. In the meantime, we need to look at a series of interim measures that will ameliorate some of the existing problems. There is a need for creativity and public engagement in developing these interim solutions. Some of the measures may be short term and will impact negatively on some in order to provide for the common good. It is unlikely that short term improvements can be achieved by infrastructural works alone and traffic control measures and behavioural change must also play a part.
It will be necessary to deliver on the long term vision for transport in Galway before many of the current difficulties will be resolved. The key elements of this, as laid out in the 2010 Galway Metropolitan Smarter Travel Area (GMSTA) Action Plan, are:
•Large infrastructure projects – specifically the Galway City Outer Bypass.
•Modal shift away from cars.
The Better Transport for Galway group evolved from an initiative by Cllr. Hildegarde Naughton, Mayor of Galway 2011-12. Given the transport difficulties in the city, she convened a small Advisory Group in autumn 2011 to engage with the general public and all key stakeholders with the objective of generating ideas that will help to address aspects of the immediate traffic problems in Galway City. The Advisory Group was drawn from Engineers Ireland West Region, NUI Galway, Galway Chamber and others with expertise in transport. In autumn 2012, the group reformed itself as Better Transport for Galway.