By Finian Coghlan
KILDARE town is top of the parking priority list in the county, with Naas bottom of the 13-town pile.
This was revealed at this week’s (20 June) monthly meeting of the Athy Municipal District (MD) members following a motion by Cllr Mark Leigh.
“Can the council provide a date for the Pay Parking Review in Athy?” he asked, in an effort to push for just two more wheelchair parking spaces in the town.
However, he was to be disappointed with an answer that basically said ‘we’ve told you this before, and you agreed on it’.
“The Roads Department plan to review Parking Bye Laws in order as outlined in the review schedule previously circulated to members ,” said the engineer from the Roads Section in the formal reply.
“A draft review of the Athy Parking Bye Laws was presented to the members in an ‘in committee’ [behind closed doors] meeting in 2018, and the members agreed at the time to postpone the review of the bye laws due to the Emily Square Development,” she continued.
€2.7m was allocated for this three years ago, however the members were told in April last year that though this was expected to start in 2022 “the exact timing will have to be coordinated with the works to the Athy Distributor Road to minimise the impact of traffic disruption in the town,” according to Mairead Hunt, Senior Executive Officer with the Public Realm team.
“Following the agreement of the Part 8 (Council planning permission for itself) for Emily Square, other developments in Athy were added to the reasons for not moving forward with the parking bye law review, including The Atrium at the back of The Heritage Centre, the re-configuration of the junction of Meeting Lane and Offaly Street, Edmund Rice Square car park, the re-development of the Dominican Site, and the Athy Distributor road itself,” she said.
“After that, a number of other Municipal Districts requested the review of their Parking Bye Laws, and this schedule of Works was circulated to all members in 2021.
“It should also be noted that the Parking Framework Document is currently under review by the Transportation SPC which may also impact the review of Parking Bye Laws,” she added.
“I am very disappointed with this answer,” said Cllr Leigh.
“I’ve had this question in twice, and it now looks like it will be 2025 before we see anything on this,” he said.
“It’s just a vicious circle just looking for two wheelchair spaces, but hopefully we’ll get the report sooner rather than later,” he said.
The list and order of review is: Kildare Town, Newbridge, Monasterevin, Celbridge, Leixlip, Kilcock, Castledermot, Athy, Maynooth, Clane, Sallins, Johnstown and Naas.