Posted by in Features.

Dear Editor,

I am writing to you in response to a recent article regarding the appointment of consultants with a view to determining traffic calming measures for Claregalway village. It would appear from this article that any proposed traffic calming measures would meet with some resistance from local councillors and business interests.

There is no disputing that the village is gridlocked during peak commuter traveling time with three main pinch points in Claregalway village.

Exiting right from the Claregalway Hotel and River Oaks is extremely difficult and dangerous at peak travel times wile the traffic lights at the N17/18 junction appear to be set to keep traffic flowing rather than for the benefif of pedestrians trying to cross the N17.

Turning right at the N17/18 junction is again extremely hazardous given the current road lay out which places vehicles turning right onto the N18 towars Galway and also because of the very short period of time the right filter signal is on.

It is certainly open to discussion as to how best to get traffic to slow down and observe the 50k and 60k speed limits on all approaches to Claregalway vilage and the 100k speed limit in Claregalway’s environs outside of peak commuter travel times. A solution to this may lie in the consultant’s report. I personally find it hard to comprehend how there would be any objection to traffic calming safety measures for Claregalway when eleven people have lost their lives in road traffic accidents in the townlands of Knockdoe, Loughgeorge, Carnmore and Cloonacauneen in the last twelve years.

The responsibility for road safety lies with a number of bodies from the NRA, RSA, local authorities, An Garda Síochána and of course individual drivers. The N17 between Knockdoe and Cloonacauneen is an accident black spot while Claregalway village has witnessed several serious road traffic accidents. This section of the N17 needs a significant increase in resources to limit/reduce drivers speed and help prevent more tragic loss of life and not the apathy being displayed by the various state bodies responsible for road safety.

Any proposed traffic calming measures for Claregalway may not have everyone’s support but it should help in ending this tragic and needless loss of lives.

Ed O’Sullivan

Response from Carl Keegan

Whilst I agree that the traffic situation and the experience for pedestrians like me are a nightmare, I wonder if in a time of austerity whether money is going to be thrown at this in any real way when effectively the village will be bypassed in a couple of years?

After living in the village for over 10 years now I would rather money be spent on local projects for the village like a park for instance or somewhere to walk. The village is plagued by a whopping great road going through it and it’s not safe or nice to be in the centre of it. There is absolutely nothing to do, its unsafe to cycle or walk in.

I would prefer local based projects in the village to benefit say, the children of the village to have a park or an area to walk in, something other small towns and villages have for years. We seemed to of wasted money on museums in the middle of no where that benefit no one in the village and no one wants to actually go to.

What they need is resources to be spent on projects that benefit people and that people will use. My other gripe is that as a non-driver it’s actually quicker & easier for me to see a GP in the city than it is in Claregalway. The Lackagh Health Centre whilst is very nice can only be got to by walking 5km from the village and 5km back again. Not something I like to do when I’m well, let alone sick. It’s totally inappropriate for those without vehicles. If you have a medical card you are forced to choose the geographical closest GP to you. Not good news if you are not a car driver in Claregalway and spend up to €15 on a taxi there and back.

These are the things the village need, and not wasting anymore time wondering about the road situation given the prospect of a bypass. We were told many years ago in Riveroaks by the council there really isn’t a solution to Claregalway’s traffic situation barring a bypass.

The need of pedestrians versus traffic at the junction is what slows it down. It was deemed a roundabout would be ineffective because the Sligo to Galway traffic would dominate the junction as well as with this, some solution to pedestrians crossing would be needed like a pedestrian bridge which was written off as an eye sore and expensive.

As a Riveroaks resident I remember going to a meeting in the Hotel with the county council members and they were tackled by residents why Riveroaks was built with what was then 141 houses with 1½ cars per household (It’s probably more cars now)—all using the same exit point as the hotel and row of commercial premises where Centra etc are located. They shrugged their shoulders and said they couldn’t predict the Celtic Tiger and increase in N17 usage which went up to 40,000 vehicles a day during the good times. I believe its somewhere in the early 30,000’s now. At the time they basically told us Claregalway was going to have to put up and shut re. the traffic situation until a bypass option could be built.

Lastly, I wouldn’t count the Galway part of the bypass being built, either any time soon—as there will probably legal challenges through the courts against compulsory purchase orders. And we all know who wins when that starts, the lawyers!