Dublin MEP Ciarán Cuffe and Dublin City Councillor Michael Pidgeon have called for better pedestrian and cycling access to Phoenix Park.
In separate submissions to a public consultation on the OPW’s Parking Strategy for the site, the Green Party representatives called for measures to reduce commuter traffic through the park and improve access to greener modes of transportation for residents and park visitors.
In his submission, MEP Cuffe said any additional car parking spaces deemed necessary should be provided outside the park perimeters to encourage the reduction of commuter traffic through the park. He also proposed expanding parking facilities for cyclists, blue-badge holders, and the elderly at the site, while praising plans to improve bus services in the park.
MEP Cuffe said: “At a time when we are trying to get people walking and cycling more, it makes little sense to give with one hand and take away with the other. The OPW’s efforts to improve access to Phoenix Park are praiseworthy, but they’ll come to nothing if the main entrances are choked with cars at peak hours. Our approach must signal clearly and coherently that active travel and public transport are the future of mobility in Dublin.
“It also bears repeating that the prohibition on bus traffic through the park is an outdated artefact of century-old legislation and should be swiftly corrected by the Oireachtas. Given the park’s size, any restrictions on car usage should be compensated for by regular and reliable public transport around the key amenities.”
Councillor Pidgeon said: “It’s a national park, not a national car park. The Phoenix Park is the environmental jewel in Dublin’s crown and it must be protected. It is an irreplaceable haven from the noise and traffic of the city, offering a chance to reconnect with nature.
“There will always be a need for cars to access the park, but we shouldn’t be paving over nature to encourage even more. Park management need to make better use of the parking spaces we have, while making walking, cycling, and public transport access even easier.
“The park belongs to everyone – regardless of age or ability. That’s why it’s so important that park managers push ahead with the planned shuttle bus and expand the number of parking spaces for people with disabilities. They also need to crack down on the minority of drivers who treat the park’s roads like a racetrack or ruin grassy verges with inconsiderate parking.”
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