Not enough people know about the free half hour parking in Portlaoise, believes Cllr Rotimi Adebari.
Speaking at last Wednesday’s area meeting, he praised the scheme which is now permanently in place.
“It’s a brilliant initiative, but we have to publicise it if we want to attract people to the town. A large number of people don’t know it’s free, there are only there for a few minutes to do their business,” he said.
Cllr Adebari suggested putting signs on the ticket machines, rather that leaving it up to shops to advertise it.
The extra work necessitated by the scheme has created a new job, with a second traffic warden recently installed.
Cllr Kathleen O’Brien welcomed the warden.
“I wish him the best of luck. It’s more work for the boys, it’s hard on them, but it is very welcome, and a great success,” she said.
Cllr Willie Aird disagreed with giving anyone a ticket unless they were parked in a wheelchair zone.
“You give a person a ticket, will they be back? No,” he said.
“The last thing we should do is put a ticket on. We are trying to keep jobs in the shops in town. How can they compete with the free parking at Tescos?,” he said.
Cllr Mary Sweeney had sought clarity from the council about how the scheme works.
“A lot of people are asking is it still there. It is a great initiative, people feel they are getting something back, it is important to keep it there,” she said.
The detailed reply from the roads department explained that the first 30 minutes is free for everyone visiting the town. Only one 30 minute slot is free per day. If still parked after 30 minutes, the vehicle then needs a ticket. If a ticket is placed immediately upon parking, the free parking will not apply after the ticket expires. However if that car returns the same day, it can use the free parking scheme. There is no grace period once the 30 minutes expires.