Paid-for parking areas are to be extended beyond the current zones in Kilkenny City, with low-cost €1-per-day parking also to be implemented in several city centre locations.
Residents of areas just beyond the scheme’s present periphery have been inundated with city workers abandoning their cars in estates and residental roads to avoid tariffs. The boundary of the current scheme will now be extended to cover Ashurst, Ashleigh Court, College Court, Butts Green, Thomas Square, Pearse Street, McDonough Street, Connolly Street and St Joseph’s Road.
In addition, low-cost on-street parking spaces (€1 a day) will be provided at Jacob Street, New Street, Walkin Street, Gaol Road, Fairgreen, Dominic Street, Blackmill Street, Butts Green, Vicar Street, Wolfe Tone Street, Ballybought Street, Dublin Road, Castle Road and Fr Hayden Road.
Cllr Joe Malone (FF) welcomed the expansion of the low-cost parking areas.
“One euro a day is only €5 or €7 a week for workers – that is brilliant,” he said.
Cllr Martin Brett (FG) enquired about the possiblity of pre-paying for parking, to eliminate the inconvenience of coins.
“If it can be done in private car parks, why can’t we do it?” he asked.
Senior engineer for the city Kieran Fitzgerald said that the concept of pre-paying or ‘park-by-phone’ would ultimately be the way forward.
“A more innovative scheme is the intention,” he said.
“I think it is time we moved away from cash collection.”
Cllr David Fitzgerald (FG) asked whether flexible parking rates could be introduced, variable depending on peak or off-peak hours in the city.
“Some of the most successful retailers are those that provide free parking, such as Aldi and Woodies,” he said.
“Some outlets in the city have moved out to offer parking for free. I believe we could have flexible rates, and I believe the technology is there. It would be good for shoppers, business, and would generate further revenue for the city.”
The Fine Gael councillor also expressed concern regarding houses on Cootes Lane, where on-street parking has become a problem, to the extent that residents are being blocked in.
“Parking on Cootes Lane has left people unable to leave their properties to make important appointments,” he said.
Meanwhile, Cllr Andrew McGuinness (FF) expressed concerns in relation to the Butts area and part of St Joseph’s Road.
“It’s a huge problem if there is parking on both sides, it becomes impossible for emergency vehicles to get down the road,” he said.
“I would also like to know how much support is there on behalf of residents in relation to the on-street parking. And is it possible to carry out works to widen the road?”
Mr Fitzgerald said that the residents had been consulted, and that there had been no submission on the matter during the public consultation phase.
“There is still a lot of inconsiderate driver behaviour in that area,” he said.
“We will continue to have discussions with residents to find a solution that is safe.”
Mayor Sean O’ hArgain said that the expansion of the laws would only be successful if existing rules were enforced.
“In relation to the implementing of these bye-laws, I would ask the garda siochana to cooperate with us in enforcing them,” he said.
“They are a waste of time otherwise. In particular, I refer to the issue of people parking in cycle lanes.”