Limerick hospital staff parking leaving residents stranded in their homes

The underground car park at UHL.

MANAGEMENT at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) has been asked to engage with staff and encourage them to act responsibly when parking in the local area.

The call came from former Limerick Mayor Cllr Daniel Butler who said that the issue of staff parking in neighbouring estates had led to residents being “stranded” in their homes.

“I have been inundated over the last two weeks with calls from distressed local residents who have been impacted by a surge in parking by UHL staff in the locality,” the Fine Gael councillor told the Limerick Post.

“This has left residents stranded in their homes with cars parked in front of their gates, fully or partially. It has left cars on footpaths forcing people on to the road. Cars parked on bends creating blind spots. It has prevented refuse trucks and deliveries driving down certain avenues to get to their destination.

“Residents have even been verbally abused by some of these individuals. It is simply unacceptable.”

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Despite this, Cllr Butler says that Limerick Council planning will not allow any further expansion in car parking onsite, in an effort support modal shifts towards sustainable transport options.

“Staff have to get to work and management at UHL must support their staff to do that. Staff are under enough pressure and tired enough without having to add the stress of figuring out how to get to and from work.”

The City West representative is now calling on UHL management to engage with their staff to act responsibly when parking in the first instance and secondly to develop and communicate a plan of how they intend to manage the matter into the future.

“Staff deserve support in getting to work but residents have the right to expect to be able come and go from their homes safely and freely.”

A response from UL Hospital Group stated that parking for staff is a major challenge, and UL Hospitals Group has for some time prioritised working to provide sufficient parking capacity for staff at University Hospital Limerick (UHL).

A spokesman for ULHG adding that a total of 1,000 parking spaces are provided onsite for staff and patients – including two off-site staff parking locations served by a daily shuttle service.

ULHG also say that the pressure on parking capacity at UHL has been further alleviated in recent times by the relocation of significant numbers of administrative staff to sites in Raheen Business Park.

“We have recently begun digitising our registered Staff Car Pool system, which is monitored and protected by swipe card access. This system has created a net increase of approximately 100 staff car parking spaces on the UHL site and will be fully functional in the near future,” the spokesman added.

“We have also endeavoured to facilitate staff who wish to cycle to UHL by providing five secure bicycle bays onsite, with one further bay in planning as well as early stage discussion around partnering with the bike rental service provided by Limerick City and Council Council and TFI.”

The spokesman said these measures allowed the hospital to provide in the region of 400 spaces onsite, including a 40 per cent increase in the number of parking spaces for patients with disabilities.

In the long term, the spokesman said  that the capital plan for UHL includes a proposal for a multi-storey car park on the site, but that such a proposal is subject to planning permission and funding.

However, regarding the alleged disturbances in surrounding estates, the spokesman added that: “Given the level of present-day demand for parking at the only Model 4 acute hospital serving Limerick, Clare, and North Tipperary, UHL site managers are acutely aware of the need to balance the needs of our staff and service-users against the rights of our residential neighbours, and we continue through our internal communications channels to urge all staff to engage with the parking measures provided.”