Limerick councillors put foot down on pavement parking

Cars parked on the footpath in Oaklawns, Castletroy.

LIMERICK councillors were putting their foot down this week on the issue of pavement parking in the city.

Labour Party councillor Conor Sheehan, who had a motion before this Monday’s meeting of the Metropolitan District, believes a ban on this illegal practice is now needed.

The City North representative’s motion called on Limerick City and County Council conduct a public awareness campaign about the dangers of pavement parking.

He also asked the local authority to adopt a zero tolerance approach when a car completely blocks a footpath. On top of this, he wants the Council to conduct a pilot programme of zero tolerance and targeted enforcement on Wickham Street/ Parnell Street and O’Connell Street for a defined period.

“Pavement parking can pose a hazard to pedestrians, especially people with sight loss, pushchairs, wheelchair users and other disabled people. Pavements are not designed to take the weight of vehicles and so surfaces become damaged or subside, presenting a further hazard to pedestrians, particularly those with disabilities,” Cllr Sheehan explained.

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“Cars are constantly parking on bus lanes. This is disgraceful really and an embarrassment for the city. What are the Garda Traffic Department doing?

“This is a form of antisocial behaviour. We have an unacceptable tolerance of pavement parking and there needs to be a ban on it. People are blocking our pavements with impunity,” he insisted.

Seconding his motion, Cllr Elena Secas (LAB) described this as a much larger issue, one that required additional enforcement and a change of behaviour.

Green Party councillor Sasa Novak maintained this issue would not go away unless the Council were really serious about addressing it. She called for a special meeting on parking to be arranged for council members.

Social Democrats councillor Elisa O’Donovan told the council executive that people are parking on cycle lanes on Wickham Street and Parnell Street every day.  While Fine Gael councillor Sarah Kiely took the view that segregation on Parnell street “is a joke”.

Senior Engineer at Limerick City and County Council, Hugh McGrath revealed that a longterm redesign plan is being looked at for Parnell Street and Wickham Street.

“We end up putting in physical measures to stop people doing something they shouldn’t be doing in the first place and are seen to be coming down with a heavy hand,” he said.