Galway - BusConnects
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This is a copy from a post of mine on the Galway Traffic thread on the Galway forum. I'm copying it here as it refers to BusConnects for some of the proposals
What follows is a look at the proposed Park & Rides for Galway City as presented by GCC to Councilors recently. Various attachments referenced are included at the end of the post. Its a long post, but it condenses down nearly 50 pages of content from the NTA & GCC, so hopefully its of interest
First up, some bits from the NTA draft proposal for P&R's for Galway City.
To support sustainable growth in the regions, urban areas, and rural settlements through enhancing connectivity to high quality, accessible, low emission, and sustainable transport; empowering modal shift and increasing the catchment areas of existing and future public transport by delivering a network of appropriate Park and Ride facilities.
Objectives for Park & Ride
To maximise the opportunities provided by on-going investment in public transport infrastructure and services, particularly in relation to the commencement of service of new public transport projects.
- To provide the appropriate type and scale of Park & Ride at the right locations, with connectivity to the road and public transport networks and design that supports integration with the surrounding walking and cycling network.
- Reduce reliance on the private car, reduce distances travelled by car and ensure Park & Ride facilitates greater use of sustainable modes.
- Deliver an enhanced customer experience through safe, secure, and user-friendly facilities that considers opportunities for interchange and to address barriers to public transport use.
- To set the standard for the design and layout of Park & Ride sites.
Plans & Strategies
There's a long LOOOOONG list of documents that call these out for Galway city, going back nearly 2 decades. I won't list them, but they cover several pages of the NTA document
The figures shown below are morning peak numbers only, not rush hour totals or AADT figures
To show why this is an issue, taking a quick look at the Claregalway (Loughgeorge) traffic counter on the TII site shows the following for that counter (note, I think they have North & South mixed up on their site)
So the 1390 figure they list is pretty much blown out of the water by 7am, with hourly figures of between 500-800 until about 7 in the evening. A weekday average traffic count for this location is going towards the city is just shy of 10,000 vehicles. Just to remind you, the P&R proposed is for 320 spaces and the bus service will only run to Parkmore. With such a limited size and scope for that location in particular, I can't see how this can ever be a high frequency service of the kind needed to entice users
- 6 sites
- Total of 1790 spaces (includes 140 pre-existing)
At first glance
The positives are
- this is a good geographical spread with a facility on almost all arterial routes.
- includes bus lanes on some sections
The negatives are
- the sizes are woefully below what is needed before they are even built
- there should be one on the N67 before Oranmore to save people having to drive through the village to get to the P&R
- There should be one on the R446 (Old Dublin rd)
- the bus lanes, where proposed, are inadequate. Anyone who has ever been stuck in Claregalway or on the M6/N6 can see from the red lines on the map above, that congestion extends well beyond the proposed bus lanes which defeats the whole purpose
- No bus priority measures planned for any of the others which means anyone using the service will be taking a diversion, parking, waiting for a bus, getting to the end of the bus travel, walk and do the same in reverse, all while not getting any benefit of quicker travel. Doesn't seem very enticing and will likely have low takeup as a result on all those other locations
- The N6 P&R looks like its intended to take traffic from the N6/M6 as well as the Monivea Road, can't see many Monivea rd users taking the diversion without the benefit of a full bus lane as previously mentioned.
The sequence of implementation
The 3 circled in green will be built in the short term (in GCC speak, this means a <10 year timeframe) with the Oranmore site seeing an extension to the existing carpark to double the size of it. Note the N83 (Tuam rd) site is only planned to have a bus service to and from Parkmore
The N59 has a site ready for the P&R but adding a bus lane complicates this one so its on a "longer" timeframe, see 10+ years
The R336 (Barna rd) and N84 (Headford rd) are listed as maybe, possibly, hopefully, being done under BusConnects despite there being nothing in BusConnects about these facilities
Looking at the N6 P&R facility first
Things to note
- Horrendously undersized (550) for the potential volume of users, should be 4 times as big
- Bus priority lanes are actually only towards the city, so returning to your car in the evenings, yeah, enjoy that 1 hour bus ride to go 1-2km
- Granted the drawing is light on detail, but nothing indicating shelters or provision for bikes. Secure bike storage facilities should be a default for these as they are within easy cycling distance for those who wish to do choose this mode (why wouldn't you want more choosing to avoid driving into the city)
- As mentioned, bus lane is too short
- Without some form of camera monitoring or bus gate access, the bus lane will be swamped by cars "chancing their arm" on a daily basis. The hard shoulder is, the bus lane will be no different
Next up, Claregalway
Things to note
- Same comment regarding shelters and secure bike storage
- Also horrendously undersized (320 spaces) for the potential volume of users, should be 3 times as big
- The bus lanes.....where to start. None north of Claregalway to the P&R, intermittent North/South lanes after that. This will not entice users in any way. There should be a full bus lanes from the site, to Parkmore junction
- One positive, based on the drawings it looks like they are planning additional paths. If there is scope to widen these even a little, they could be a shared surface allowing safe cycling to and from the P&R site (if they ran both sides)
Lastly, Oranmore, no need to add a pic, they are just doubling the size of the existing facility. Has the same issues, even doubling it, it will still be undersized, there's no plans for secure bike storage and so on. Note this one doesn't come under the bus lanes as its served by rail only
Per the presentation
- Preparation of Options Selection Reports
- Preparation of planning documentation including Environmental Impact Assessment Reports
- Discussion with landowners on agreements
- Development of options for bus services
- Submission of Planning Applications (target mid 2023)
Honestly, I don't see these going into planning before 2024, possibly 2025. If the bus lanes are part of the applications you might be looking at 2026 or later with GCC having form for this, see the GTS which was released in 2016 and the first bus lane planning application was submitted just 4 weeks ago.
As an aside, I know I am critical here, but I think rightfully so. They have been talking about this since the mid 2000's and now what is proposed looks like the Salthill bike lane in nature i.e. designed in such a way as to fail before its even had a chance to be a success.
With just a little bit more ambition, this proposal could have been amazing.
- Increase the sizes
- Include the missing routes
- Get them all built within 5 years
- Full bus lanes to all
- and so on
It should also be noted, that without workplace parking levies or congestion charges, these will also face low user numbers. Carrot & stick and all that jazz
4(a) PR STRATEGY Galway_Full Report_draft_05.10.2022.pdf
4(a) Park and Ride Development Office Presentation_Galway City Council Meetin.._.pdf1