All five Galway West TDs signed yesterday’s Open Letter to Galway City Council which suggested several creative and popular ideas for street space to be better allocated in the city.
The call for additional street space in Galway to be made available for cycling, walking and eating in recent days and weeks has been echoed by Galway East TD Ciaran Cannon.
Minister Ciaran Cannon has thrown his support behind the growing call for this to become a reality, saying that a redrawing of road-space would help make the necessity of social distancing serve both health and the economy.
“While no one can yet determine how long the current crisis is going to last, we can be certain that it is going to mean an alteration in how all aspects of daily business are conducted for the foreseeable future,” he said.
Minister Cannon said that this is as true for travelling about as for any other aspect of life.
Because of this, he said he is more than happy to give his full support to the initiative underway for the re-allocation of road-spaces in our cities and towns during the pandemic.
“Almost 65,000 people live within a 20 minute bike ride from Eyre Square and providing safe spaces for cycling commuters would surely take hundreds of cars off our roads every day.
“We also need to examine the possibility of a park and bike ride facility at Galway Airport, with creation of a dedicated bike lane from Carnmore to the city.
“Effectively, what we need right now is a re-drawing of road-spaces to better accommodate cyclists and walkers which would entail installing cycle lanes, widening of footpath spaces and temporarily closing off of some roads to facilitate the endeavour,” said Minister Cannon.
Restaurants have shown their support for the re-allocation of street space and more car-free areas.
JP McMahon of Aniar and Tartare Café and Wine Bar said: “Restaurants, cafés and bars need more street space so people can ‘eat-on-the street’ and enjoy outdoor dining this summer while social distancing.
“Making more space to help restaurants and cafes to survive is paramount if we are to get through this pandemic together.”
Speaking about the huge potential benefit this would bring to restaurants, Minister Ciaran Cannon added: “The restaurant sector recognises its potential for boosting business as the enhanced space on footpaths presents ready opportunities to re-engage with customers while observing social distancing protocols.
“Moreover, the fact that the campaign is being backed by the Irish Heart Foundation and the Irish Cancer Society speaks volumes for its` potential for healthier outcomes for people who opt for cycling and walking rather than driving”.
Minister Cannon is urging both the City and the County Council to give these suggestions every consideration at the earliest possible opportunity.