Tuesday 17 June 2008

Civil service parking ban in city urged

SOME 60 per cent of cars parked in Dublin city centre’s shopping districts belong to civil servants, according to a study carried out by the Dublin City Business Association (DCBA).

The association has called for the scrapping of proposals for a city congestion charge and says civil servants should use public transport instead.

Tom Coffey, CEO of DCBA says traffic problems in the city centre would be solved if civil servants left their cars behind.

“If civil servants would use public transport instead of telling everyone else to use it we would see a drop in traffic congestion,” he said.

John Henry, chairman of the Dublin Transportation Office (DTO) recently said a congestion charge could be considered as part of a new transport strategy for Dublin.

He also said traffic restrictions would be required prior to the construction of the Metro North line.

The DCBA study found that of the almost 22,000 parking spaces in the city, about 13,000 are used by civil servants, most of whom have free parking.

The figures show that 83,813 shoppers travel by car to the city centre, generally outside rush hour, every day and spend three times as much as those who use public transport.

Government income from city centre employment and business comes to €1.03 billion.

Mr Coffey said all parking for civil servants in Dublin 1 and Dublin 2 should be shut down and more QBCs and Luas lines be provided for commuters.

The city he said needs park and ride facilities at railway stations and QBC perimeters so that people commuting to work can leave their cars behind.

He said there were 22 car parks in the city centre frequented by driving shoppers who, according to DCBA research, travelled between 10am and 3.30pm and so did not add to congestion. He called for a move away from “persistent negative messages from the State sector” about avoiding the city centre. “Shoppers parking in the city centre paid €11 million a year in Vat on parking to the exchequer and the 4,000 rate-paying businesses contributed €1 billion.”

He said 80 per cent of shoppers who drive are women and they spend three times as much as those who visit the city on public transport.

“Public servants can’t distinguish between shoppers and commuters, it amounts to a public servant proposing that a woman should come shopping on a bicycle.” He called for a “rational debate” on the issue.

The DCBA has also called for parts of the Metro North plan to be reconsidered. Metro North will connect Swords to Dublin city centre via Dublin airport.

The 17km-long route will have underground stops at St Stephen’s Green, O’Connell Bridge, Parnell Square, the Mater hospital, Drumcondra, Griffith Avenue, Dublin City University, Ballymun and Dublin airport. Mr Coffey said plans to use a “cut and cover” process to mine in O’Connell Street, D’Olier Street and Westmoreland Street would have a detrimental effect on city centre businesses. If every business in the area lost one employee, 4,000 would lose their jobs, he said.

Irish Times


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