Minister Alan Kelly opens Galway's first ever public bike symposium
Issued : Tuesday 15 November, 2011
Symposium looks at feasibility of a bike-rental scheme for Galway city
The prospect of a city-bike scheme for Galway city was the subject of an important symposium organised in Galway today.
Business interests, elected representatives, members of the public and civic society today joined Minister for Public and Commuter Transport Alan Kelly and Anne Graham, Director for Public Transport Services at the National Transport Authority, at Galway's Public Bike Symposium.
The Symposium today is the last of four taking place following the announcement on 3 November by An Taoiseach and Minister Kelly of the Government's commitment to exploring the rollout of a public bike scheme to regional cities.
A recently published report commissioned by the NTA found that a bike scheme in Galway is feasible at a scale of between 200-250 bikes at 23 docking stations within a 4 square kilometre area centred around the city centre but will require both public and private funding for it to be delivered.
Speaking today, Minister Kelly said: "Today's symposium is important to articulate all the issues for Galway, assess the local appetite for a bike scheme, have an informed discussion around funding, site a scheme within Galway infrastructure development plans, and bring the views of Galway's key stakeholders to the table. The Government has given a clear signal that the Programme for Government commitment to explore bringing public bike schemes to our regional cities will be fully implemented. In the current economic climate, Exchequer support to fund a scheme for Galway is necessarily constrained, so we are seeking private sector partnership to make this a reality."
At today's symposium, Anne Graham of the National Transport Authority (NTA) outlined the potential for a public bike scheme in Galway indicating that "Galway is a relatively cycle-friendly city, well suited to a bike sharing scheme. The study we commissioned recommends a scheme with 200-250 bikes over 23 docking stations. Such a scheme has been tentatively costed at €1.7m in capital and almost €4m in operating costs over 15 years plus the apportioned cost of a national control centre."
Minister Kelly said: "There has been much good work undertaken here in Galway by the Transportation Unit in the City Council to make travel in Galway smarter and the great cycling culture in the city is being built on all the time. Investment in the necessary infrastructure is happening. Under the Jobs Initiative, this Government has allocated €400,000 to a variety of projects here in Galway including an integrated traffic management control centre, variable message signs, and traffic control upgrades. My Department has also provided funding for the construction of a Greenway high quality walking and pedestrian route from NUIG to Galway Cathedral to tie into the city's strategic cycling network and the Galway to Clifden route at a cost of €250,000. Now we just have to get more people back on their bikes!"
Two reports on the feasibility of rolling public bikes schemes to our regional cities were commissioned by the National Transport Authority. One, a technical report considering the potential scope and on-the-ground logistics of schemes in each city and the other, a commercial report considering funding, cost and revenue analysis and options. Reports are available at:
1. For Galway the feasibility study recommends a scheme with 200-250 bikes over 23 docking stations within a 4 square kilometre area centred around the city centre. The study also found that Galway was a relatively cycle-friendly city, well suited to a bikesharing scheme. Such a scheme has been tentatively costed at €1.7m in capital and almost €4m in operating costs over 15 years plus the apportioned cost of a national control centre.
2. This year's National Bike Week 2011 was our most successful ever and Minister Kelly attended the opening event in Eyre Square. The Galway Bike Festival which took place during Bike Week had a diverse array of cycling related activities and was a great success.
3. The last census showed that over 200,000 of us drive less than 4km to work. To incentivise people to not use their cars, we have to make walkways, cycle paths and the road network more cyclist and pedestrian-friendly. Public bike schemes make cycling more visible and therefore safer, provide more transport choices in city centres and enhance people's experience of their city, providing a win-win for the public and for business.
 Bike Symposiums have also taken place in Cork on Monday 7 November, Waterford on 9 November and Limerick on 14 November.