Friday, 20 February 2009

Councils' park-and-ride policy criticised

THE FOUR Dublin local authorities have failed to deliver park-and-ride facilities to reduce Dublin city traffic, despite having access to a €50 million fund for their development, Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey has said.

The €50 million Transport 21 fund is available to local authorities for traffic management activities, including park-and-ride facilities which allow motorists to park their cars to take public transport to the city.

In an effort to encourage their development, Mr Dempsey ring-fenced €1 million specifically for park-and-ride development in 2008 and said he was prepared to increase this funding if local authorities came forward with proposals. However, no local authority responded, the Department of Transport has said.

A larger budget of €5 million has been made available for park-and-ride development in 2009, despite there having been no uptake in 2008.

Speaking at an Oireachtas transport committee this week, Mr Dempsey expressed his exasperation at the lack of interest shown by local authorities.

“It breaks my heart that for the past four or five years money has been provided by my department under Transport 21 for park-and-ride facilities and that to say progress on it is poor does not adequately describe the situation. It is abysmal.”

Dublin City Council yesterday said it has no plans for park-and-ride facilities in the city, and that such facilities were more suitably located outside its boundaries.

Fingal County Council said it had no formal park-and-ride sites but that two council-owned sites in Balbriggan were used by commuters to park on an informal basis and a feasibility study was being conducted on the possibility of providing park-and-ride at Lissenhall, north of Swords.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said it was its policy to “encourage” park-and-ride. It did not have such facilities at present, but they were planned as part of the Luas extension in Carrickmines.

South Dublin County Council did not respond yesterday to queries about its facilities or plans.

Irish Times

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