In March 2020, life as we knew it changed literally overnight. The Covid-19 pandemic affected all our lives, specifically, the way in which we worked, socialised and interacted with each other. It had an enormous impact on our transport system, leading to radically reduced travel levels and altered patterns of movement. To facilitate these new patterns of travel and social distancing requirements, some reallocation of road, footpath and amenity space was introduced within the City.
To address these challenges and meet the needs of all stakeholders in a fair, integrated and co-ordinated way, Galway City Council established an inter-departmental City Mobility Team, led by the Transport section.
The role of the GCCMT was to consider and agree short and medium-term practical mobility interventions in the City, having listened to and proactively consulted with all stakeholders. Over 1,400 submissions were received in summer 2020.
Galway City Council applied for and received approval for projects to a value of over €4.4million, through Covid-19 and Stimulus funding from the National Transport Authority to deliver dynamic, temporary measures to support active travel and social distancing.
Initiatives progressed by the GCCMT included:
• Bus stops, taxi ranks, and loading bay in Eyre Square – paving removed and replaced with printed asphalt and line marking renewal.
• Replacement of 7.2km of cycle lanes from Ballybane Junction on N6 to Browne Roundabout.
• Touchless push buttons on pedestrian crossings in Eyre Square.
• Resurfacing of City junctions to improve surface quality and safety for cyclists.
• Dominic Street Upper footpath replacement.
• Resurfacing of High Street and Quay Street.
• Public lighting at locations including Southpark, Blackrock, the Plots, Woodquay, Westbrook Housing Estate to Ballymoneen Road, Monksfield to Oakland Laneway (Salthill), and Dougishka to Coast Road laneway
• Pedestrianisation of Cross Street.
• Park and Stride accessible path through Barna Woods, linking Cappagh Park and Silverstrand beach.
• Galway Mobility Dashboard.
• On-street cycle parking
• Bus shelters.
• Introduction of a temporary Tables and Chairs license for the hospitality sector.
• Design of bespoke parklets and cycle parking.
• Park and Stride was relaunched to coincide with the return to school of children in Galway City. Over 420 permits were issued in August and September alone. Parents and guardians can register through www.galwaycity.ie/parkandstride .
• Commencement of work on the Wolfe Tone and Clifden Railway Pedestrian and Cycle Bridges, and
• Development of guidelines for queuing for businesses reopening in summer 2020.
Cross departmental collaboration continues, and updates on initiatives will be shared with Elected Members, representative groups and the public through a number of channels, including the Galway City Council website and social media accounts, press releases, and statements.
Public consultation via the Galway City Mobility Team has now closed. Requests can be channelled through normal channels in Galway City Council. Contact Customer Services at 091 546 400 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tables and Chairs Licences - Hospitality Sector
Galway City Council has waived fees for Tables and Chairs Licences for the hospitality sector to the end of 2021, to facilitate businesses to operate under social distancing guidelines as the sector reopens.
Galway City Council operates two licence structures for tables and chairs in public places.
The first licence is granted on an annual basis as a ‘Section 254’ licence under planning legislation, where the proposal meets the specified criteria. For businesses which currently have tables and chairs in place through a Section 254 licence, fees will be waived through a free licence extension to the end of 2021. Normal terms and conditions of the Section 254 licence will apply, including the requirement to renew applications as they expire, maintain the appropriate public liability insurance policy etc. Read more (link to planning)
For more information in relation to existing Section 254 licences, please contact email@example.com
The second licence was introduced on a temporary basis by Galway City Council under Roads legislation (Section 71) in response to Covid-19. This licence facilitates businesses to avail of ‘new’ public realm created through reallocation of road space for pedestrian use to assist social distancing. These licences were originally introduced on a three-month basis in summer 2020, and have been extended as Covid restrictions remained in place.
Temporary Tables and Chairs Licenses will be considered for businesses whose primary use is for the selling of food/ drink, which already provide seating and tables inside the premises, and on the ground floor, for this purpose, and do not already hold a Section 254 licence. Such businesses can apply for a short-term Covid-19 Licence, with no charge for the duration of licence under Section 71 of the Roads Act provided they meet the criteria. This short term licence will operate until the end of 2021.
Applications will be reviewed on a case by case basis, with respect to the impact of the licence on neighbouring properties and the operation of the street; queuing of customers; and the safe passage of pedestrians and mobility impaired.
Applications for temporary licences are now open, with application forms available from: Temporary Covid Street Furniture Permit Application Form March 2021
For information on temporary Covid-19 Licence applications, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Outdoor Seating & Accessories - Tourism & Hospitality
(April 2021) Galway City Council is administering a Fáilte Ireland scheme for Outdoor Seating & Accessories for Tourism & Hospitality Business.
For more information and an application form, please see www.galwaycity.ie/outdoordining
Public Consultation Summer 2020
Galway City Council undertook significant public consultation throughout summer 2020, with over 1,400 submissions received in this time. This was a very significant piece of input and feedback from the people of Galway, business representative groups, Elected Members, and other stakeholder groups.
Requests were carefully reviewed by the CMT, to identify which initiatives could be progressed safely and in line with restrictions in place at a given point in time.
Funding was sought from the NTA to progress requests (see above) in 2020, with follow-on initiatives also being progressed in 2021 e.g. pedestrian crossing at Barna Woods, School Zones road markings at 15 schools in the City.
Online submissions remain viewable at Covid-19 Submissions Map
Please note updates to the map ceased in 2020 as normal business resumed in Galway City Council, and the CMT returned to their normal roles.
· National Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business
All submissions received by the City Mobility Team in 2020 were reviewed with consideration for:
· Policy - The Galway Transport Strategy, the Galway City Development Plan, the Galway City Council Public Realm Strategy, and national guidance, including the National Cycle Manual, Design Manual for Urban Streets, and conditions of funding for interventions proposed e.g. NTA Project Management Guidance.
· Planning – requirements for measures to secure planning permission or licences.
· Geography - Initial geographic focus of the GCCMT, based on footfall and need for social distancing. This was the City Centre and Salthill in June 2020. The requirements of schools and other areas were examined thereafter.
· An Garda Siochána - Agreement with An Garda Siochána on the appropriateness of measures.
· Time - The short term remit of the GCCMT, initially proposed to be September 2020, was subject to review based on the roadmap for reopening. Measures which cannot be progressed in the short term have been referred to core operations for examination, and inclusion in future work programmes, funding dependent. Measures implemented through the GCCMT were temporary and dynamic in nature, responding to the need to support social distancing. They will be reviewed on an on-going basis, and removed in due course.
· Existing Schemes – A number of on-going transport projects will provide solutions for many issues flagged via the online form e.g. BusConnects Galway: Cross-City Link, Salmon Weir Pedestrian and Cycling Bridge, BusConnects Galway: Dublin Road. These schemes are currently at various stages of the design and planning processes and will be progressed and implemented as funding is secured.
· Funding - In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and its significant impact on the local authority budget, the City Council is reviewing its budget lines on an on-going basis to ensure prudent management of resources during these extremely challenging times. As of March 27th 2020, any discretionary budget lines were deferred until the impact of the national emergency on the overall finances of the local authority and the maintenance of core essential services could be assessed over the following months. The Chief Executive continues to provide regular updates to the Elected Members on the overall financial position of the local authority. In the event that the City Council is not in a position to fund requests directly, proposals will be reviewed to establish if they would qualify for funding from Fáilte Ireland or the National Transport Authority.
· Pilots – where possible, GCCMT will progress pilot schemes to support social distancing and to trial measures in the city e.g. parklets.
· Resources – Galway City Council continues to implement government and health recommendations with regard to working procedures and protocols for its staff, which will have an impact on the number of staff working together at the same time. Essential services continue to be prioritised and a significant additional workload associated with COVID-19 such as the work of the City Mobility Team on temporary interventions has to be managed within the current available workforce.
· Implementation Team Audits – a technical team from GCC undertook on-street audits in summer 2020, with a view to proposing temporary solutions to resolve many of the issues raised in submissions. A phased approach to implementation was progressed.
· Competing demands – balancing the needs and input from competing demands for road space and public areas, including for example, deliveries, street cleaning, amenity, waste management, cycling, walking, public transport, parking, emergency services and the needs of mobility impaired.
The measures arising as a result of this process are temporary and dynamic, based on the requirement to facilitate social distancing to support Galway to return to the vibrant, busy city it is. Measures will be monitored, and amended where required. In time, measures can be removed as the threat of Covid-19 lessens.
For measures which have a statutory process, e.g. requests for speed limit reductions or amendments, these processes have statutory consultation prescribed, and will proceed in line with the legislation. These processes require consultation with An Garda Siochána and the public, and will then be put on the agenda of the Ordinary Council Meeting to consider for adoption.
Other significant interventions that were proposed and are not aligned with current adopted policy of Galway City Council will also come before Elected Members, in line with the reserved function of the Council Members.
Changes in government restrictions and phasing will impact on the activities and focus of Galway City Council. The pandemic by its nature is changing and evolving as is the government’s roadmap for a phased re-opening of business and society.
Elected Members can continue to make submissions in relation to Covid-19 measures to Councillor Liaisons. Business representative groups can continue to engage with Economic Development staff in relation to their needs. Urgent requests should be reported at the time of the incident to An Garda Siochána, or to Customer Services, Galway City Council at 091 536 400 or email@example.com
On-Street Queuing Guidelines
Galway City Council recognises the concerns of retailers, and the public, to ensure safe social distancing, as normal life returns in retail outlets in the city. Galway City Council recognises the important role of retailers in returning to a vibrant, thriving, city in the months ahead.
The Galway City Council Mobility Team has prepared guidelines to support businesses reopening (summer 2020), with consideration for safe queuing on public paths. Please ensure that your business has a plan in place to manage queues that may form outside your business, based on the guidelines below:
- Weekly Updates
Updates on the progress of the Mobility team were issued on a weekly basis and these can be viewed below:
01 Galway City Council Mobility Team Update Week Ending 22.05.2020.pdf
02 Galway City Council Mobilty Team Update Week Ending 29.05.2020.pdf
03 Galway City Council Mobilty Team Update Week Ending 05.06.2020.pdf
04 Galway City Council Mobility Team Update Week Ending 12.06.2020.pdf
05 Galway City Council Mobility Team Update Week Ending 19.06.2020.pdf
06 Galway City Council Mobility Team Update Week Ending 26.06.2020.pdf
07 Galway City Council Mobility Team Update Week Ending 03.07.2020.pdf
08 Galway City Council Mobility Team Update Week Ending 10.07.2020.pdf
09 Galway City Council Mobility Team Update Week Ending 17072020.pdf
10 Galway City Council Mobility Team Update Week Ending 24072020.pdf
11 Galway City Council Mobility Team Update Week Ending 31072020.pdf
Traffic Management Changes Map Summer 2020
A map indicating the temporary measures which were implemented in summer 2020 by the GCCMT, including additional cycle parking can be viewed at: https://arcg.is/0eCvTX
https://www.galwaycity.ie/uploads/downloads/news_items/Your_Council/Mobility%20team/Traffic%20Management%20Changes%20%E2%80%93%20Galway%20City%20Council%20Covid-19%20Mobility%20Plan%20....pdf (Please refer to the online map for full details for locations of interest)
Galway City Loading Bays
A map has been developed to provide more information to the public and to businesses on details and availability of current loading bays in the city (as of of summer 2020) : https://arcg.is/mfmf50