Thursday, 28 September 2006
Question 3: To ask the Minister for Transport the progress made by his Department regarding the proposal for residents only parking on major event or match days in areas within a certain radius of stadia; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30292/06]
I am aware that parking problems arise on the roads in the environs of stadia such as Croke Park on match and other event days when a large influx of motorists from outside the area park on residential roads for the duration of the events.
An examination in my Department of the present road traffic legislative provisions indicates that there is no legislative provision to reserve parking on a specified public road on specified dates exclusively to the persons who reside in premises on that road and their guests, as mooted in respect of residential roads that are outside the cordon area put in place by the Garda Síochána in respect of the streets in the immediate vicinity of the Croke Park stadium.
The call to reserve parking to local residents is a complex matter. It has also been drawn to my attention that inconvenience can also be experienced by residents where parking congestion can arise daily on public roads in residential areas in other circumstances countrywide, such as, for example, where day-long parking is availed of by commuters or persons who work nearby.
My Department is examining the regulatory road traffic legislative provisions available to road authorities when applying restrictions and prohibitions on the parking of vehicles to ascertain if new measures to reserve parking to local residents in any circumstances are appropriate or feasible. The issue has been referred to the Office of the Attorney General and when advice is received, I intend to commence a full public consultation process on the issue.
I thank the Minister for his reply. He refers to parking problems around Croke Park. Does he appreciate the seriousness of the issue for the communities in that area? They are closed off and shut down on major event or match days in Croke Park. People cannot get access to their homes. This is in dramatic contrast to the clinical traffic management witnessed around the K Club for the recent golfing event there. There is absolute chaos around Croke Park and the residents are the main victims.
I welcome the Minister's remarks and acknowledge that there are other circumstances in other urban areas where residents are demanding residents only parking because of commuter traffic and so on. This is a major issue for people in the cities. Can the Minister give us a timeframe for the process he is putting in place? How long does he envisage that this will be with the Attorney General? It is some months since the Minister indicated in a written reply to me that the matter was going to the Attorney General and it is still with him. Will the Minister give some sort of timeframe and say whether he is committed to trying to address this issue in the public consultation process to which he refers?
I agree with the Deputy who knows that I met a delegation of which I think he was part, when Councillor Fitzpatrick brought a group to me. I accept that there is a problem but neither I nor any Minister of the day could legislate nationally for one stadium. The issue arises in Thurles and other grounds throughout the country. We must therefore consider it comprehensively. It is with the Office of the Attorney General. My officials and officials in his office have been working on this. I did not want to proceed with the public consultation process without some legal basis for what we should do, and then fit a policy objective into it. I am anxious to get a result quickly and set up a public consultation process because there are many different views that people want to express on this.
I know Croke Park and go there regularly, not that Waterford reaches many finals but we have at least got as far as some all-Ireland semi-finals in recent years. It is difficult for the residents in the area as in other places. As soon as I get a response on the area with which I can deal, I will hold a public consultation process. I will place a time limit on that which will be helpful to everybody.