Posted by Enda Cunningham, Connacht Tribune in News.

More than 500 locals have signed a petition calling on Galway County Council to install foot and cycle paths on the main roads from Carnmore Cross to School Road.

Residents have said that many locals have to depend on a car to get them to shops, sporting events and school because the R339 Monivea Road is too dangerous to walk.

They have now launched a new community initiative—Footpaths for Carnmore—in a bid to make amenities more accessible such as shops at Carnmore Cross, the community centre, the local national school and the newly-developed secondary school.

The group is seeking the installation of footpaths in the Carnmore area on a phased basis, eventually connecting to Claregalway.

A spokesperson said: “The first of these phases is the construction of a footpath from the junction of the Carnmore School Road and Monivea Road to Carnmore Cross on the R339. This foot and cycle path would connect the local businesses with the community centre and three pitches, and the road to the local national school.”

“An estimated 3,000 pick-up and drop-offs take place at Carnmore Community Centre on a weekly basis. This is due to the large amount of activities such as senior and juvenile hurling, intermediate and juvenile camogie, handball, judo, Irish dancing classes, drama group, the naíonra, the ladies’ club and exercise and yoga classes for all ages.”

“The local National School brings more traffic with an estimated 1,300 drop off and pick-ups. Footpaths would dramatically decrease the volume of cars on the road and increase the safety of those already cycling and walking.”

“Many people using these services live within walking or cycling distance.  However, without a footpath or cycle lane, they must depend on a car to get them to shops, sporting activities and school.

“Many younger members of the community, particularly teenagers, whether seeking independence or having no access to a life, already cycle and walk on this very busy and dangerous road in order to attend their sporting activities in the Carnmore Community Centre and pitches, or to meet up with their friends at the local shop and deli.

“Older local people, without access to transport, and who need to avail of the services of Carnmore Cross, are faced with no option but to risk their lives b walking or cycling along this treacherous stretch of road.

“With the safety of all the residents of Carnmore being our primary concern, we are actively seeking the County Council to install a footpath along the R339 from Carnmore Cross to the School Road so that the people of Carnmore can navigate their community, on foot or bicycle, without the threat posed by fast moving lorries, trucks and cars,” the spokesperson said.

They added that there will also be positive health implications fro the new footpath and cycle path.

“The health benefits of having footpaths are many, including increased physical activity, increased social participation and inclusion, leading to positive mental health.

“At a time when obesity—particularly childhood obesity—is becoming more and more prevalent, children and teenagers should have the option of walking or cycling to school or other activities that they attend at the Community Centre and pitches, and be safe while they do so,” the spokesperson said.

The group has set up a Footpaths for Carnmore campaign page on Facebook and is currently working on a proposal to put to the Oranmore and Athenry Municipal District Council.