Nero fiddled while Rome burned and Galway City Councillors dithered while Galway came to a standstill. Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore was accused of being a ditherer last week, but that award this week goes to our city councillors who are all over the place when it comes to traffic management in this city.
While Galway Chamber and Galway City Council Director of Services at least seem to have strong, albeit opposing, views on the scheme known as the Bothar Na dTreabh (N6) Multi-Modal Corridor, Galway City Councillors don’t seem to be able to make up their minds as to what is the best way to deal with traffic in this city.
A majority of ten city councillors set the ball rolling on the removal of the city roundabouts and their replacing with traffic light junctions earlier this year despite concerns voiced by the business community. Because they didn’t listen to the views of the business community then, they are now locked into a plan that will see work commence on the removal of the Lynch roundabout at Briarhill later this month, which if previous projects are anything to go by will spill into the busy Christmas season and could spell disaster for local business by hampering traffic to the city at this crucial time.
Furthermore, because of their dithering and the series of four-hour meetings that have come to absolutely nothing other than reinforcing the controversial plan, Galway City has again, and no doubt will in the future, hit the headlines nationally for all the wrong reasons.
Reports of our traffic problems put shoppers off visiting the city at the time of the controversial redevelopment of Eyre Square and reports of our traffic woes now will put people, especially those on the east of the city within easy access of Athlone, Dublin and Limerick, off visiting Galway in the run up to the busy Christmas period.
Councillors dithering aside, the business community’s fears would at least be assuaged if they could be given guarantees that their traffic fears are unfounded. However, noticeable by its absence during this entire debate has been assurances from city council officials that traffic will not grind to a halt as the roundabouts are dug up or that the traffic lights will not be worse than their predecessor.
Instead we are left with the over-riding impression that we are doing this because it might make things better, maybe, hopefully. We can’t afford to gamble with our city’s economic health and we don’t want ditherers.