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Phoenix Park proposed parking charges unfair and unnecessary – Currie

18th April 2023 - Emer Currie

Proposals by the Office of Public Works (OPW) to introduce car parking charges in the Phoenix Park have been rejected by a Fine Gael Senator.

“The OPW’s readiness to drive through parking charges in the Phoenix Park is disappointing,” noted Senator Emer Currie, adding: “According to the OPW’s own website, the Phoenix Park is the people’s park, ‘where Dublin goes to breathe’. As a public and free resource, it should stay that way, without visitors being hit with parking charges.”

The OPW has launched a public consultation process seeking the views of people on the future of parking in the Phoenix Park, which will last for five weeks. Members of the public are invited to review a draft Strategy that provides a comprehensive vision for parking management in the Phoenix Park.

“This draft strategy acknowledges what I have been saying since changes were made to the Park a couple of years ago – that there is a need to address accessibility issues for older people, people with disabilities and impaired mobility. Out of the existing 2,200 car parking spaces, only 21 of them are for accessible parking,” Senator Currie explained.

“The Parking Strategy puts forward ideas on how to rectify this. It’s really important people consider them and feed back their views to the OPW.

“It seems a pity that in these proposals, where the OPW acknowledges there is a problem for people who need to use cars, that they are proposing to charge them for it. This was supposed to be about equity.

“What is also disappointing is the slow adoption of shuttle bus provision, even though there is huge demand for it, while legislation to remove the current limitations to charge for parking would be instigated immediately.

“The signs are very positive for the growth in use of sustainable and active travel to the Park. 84% of previous respondents said they come to the Park for leisure and recreation. Of that number, 54% walk, while 65% said they could be persuaded to leave the car behind.

“This intent needs to be built on, with positive strategies like increased public transport links and better ways to travel, rather than potentially penalising those who may not be able to access the Park without their car.

“It’s important people continue to have their say on all the OPW transport proposals for Park. The Phoenix Park is for everyone. We are trying to protect both the Park and access to it as the city changes. If charges are introduced, it’s the people who need it the most who will suffer the most. Green spaces are at a premium already, access to them should not be,” Senator Currie concluded.

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