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No Rational Basis for Galway City Outer Bypass - Researcher

category galway | environment | press release author Tuesday October 09, 2007 20:37author by Brian Guckian Report this post to the editors

City-wide Sustainable Transport Network could be Provided for Two-thirds the Cost

PRESS RELEASE 21/9/2007

THERE is no rational basis for the proposed Galway City Outer Bypass, and just two-thirds of the considerable cost of the road scheme - currently estimated at 330 million - would provide a fully-integrated, sustainable transport system for the city instead, Transport Researcher Brian Guckian has said.

Mr. Guckian, who carries out research and development into sustainable transport and who has advocated light rail systems for regional cities, including the Corrib Light Rail proposal for Galway, as well as extension of the national rail network, said that the apparent reluctance to consider or implement successful transport strategies from the Continent, which stressed integration and sustainability, and which rejected car use, was disturbing.

"You have a troubling situation where the perceived 'solution' to transport problems in Galway, for example, is seen as an unsustainable, hugely wasteful road bypass of the city. This is an out-moded, ineffective proposal straight from the 1960s, and the apparent reluctance to embrace modern thinking is deeply worrying, and one has to ask why it is being pursued in the face of national and EU policies in relation to sustainable transportation and land use", he said.

Mr. Guckian added, "Study after study has shown that increasing available roadspace actually increases the volume of cars present through a phenomenon known as 'induced traffic'. More roads in fact encourage more people to drive, more frequently, and this also undermines the financial viability of sustainable transport modes such as bus, rail and light rail. The bottom line is that more roads do not solve traffic problems; the only solution is to cut car dependency via dramatically enhanced public transport provision and the conversion of roadspace in urban areas to create genuine, effective cycling and walking routes".

He continued that current best practice in sustainable transport and land use planning was concentrating on this creation of walking and cycling communities linked by light rail and bus networks, thus reducing oil dependency and dramatically improving energy efficiency, as well as cutting CO2 and other emissions responsible for global warming. He said that walking and cycling also had strong health benefits in terms of reducing obesity and exposure to diabetes and heart problems, as well as facilitating better community interaction and sociability.

Mr. Guckian stated that the responsible course of action for the authorities was to withdraw the Outer Bypass plan and instead spend two-thirds of the estimated 330 million involved on a fully-integrated, sustainable transport system for the city, with the balance going to fund much-needed essential services. This would be a model for other cities and towns in the state to follow.

"Don't make the mistakes of other cities that are missing out on the economic, social and environmental dividends that sustainable development provides", he concluded.

ENDS

Contact: Brian Guckian 087 9140105 railprojects@eircom.net

author by Terencepublication date Wed Oct 10, 2007 10:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The city of Hasselt (pop. 77k) in Belgium faced a similar problem in the mid 1990s as to whether to build another outer ring road and somehow sanity prevailed and they actually opted to make all public transport in the city free.

But before making it free, they increased the size of the fleet and improved the bus schedule by making them more frequent. They have never looked back since. Oh and yes, they found that they didn't need the outer ring road after all.

Full account of it can be found here at the URL below or just google around.

Related Link: http://cgullworld.blogspot.com/2007/09/would-free-public-transportation.html
author by derekpublication date Wed Oct 10, 2007 13:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nice idea Terence,
now let's see you put the following words in a positive sentence: government, public-transport, free.
I thought not.

author by greypublication date Wed Oct 10, 2007 19:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Hasselt experience is the way to go. It is only by making public transport free that it becomes attractive enough for many drivers to leave the cars at home, or even in the showroom. It also actually makes the provision of public transport more efficient, because the whole bean counting exercise of ticketing disappears!
Its' only problem is it does not suit the agendas of the road lobbies (less vehicles on fewer roads), or even the public transport providers (who dedicate significant resources into fare collection). No wonder this successful innovation is viewed as a scheme for crackpots!

 
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