Increase free parking in Portlaoise to one hour; give business people parking permits for the town centre; or how about one hour’s parking for just 20 cent?
These were some of the suggestions made by Portlaoise town councillors at their recent monthly meeting at County Hall, regarding the need to review Portlaoise’s parking bye-laws to revitalise the centre of the town.
Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald, who proposed the motion calling on Laois County Council to do a complete review of the bye-laws, said that such a review was urgently needed.
“Businesspeople on Main Street have asked me to address this,” she said. “With two hour parking you have to move the car after an hour, that’s very unfair to businesspeople and doesn’t make any sense.
“Business owners should be given a permit,” she continued. “We’re taking big rates off people, we have to do whatever we can to help Main Street.”
“It’s very important that we do that,” agreed Cllr Rotimi Adebari.
Cllr Jerry Lodge said it was giving people “heart attacks” having to come back to their car after half an hour to put in more money.
“How about 20 cent for an hour? That would make things simpler for everybody,” he said. “It would make it easier on the customer.”
“We all welcomed the half hour free parking, but there are problems if you’re downtown and meet someone, you have to run out and put more money in,” said Cllr Willie Aird, adding that people can simply cross James Fintan Lalor Avenue and park for free on the other side of town.
“Some people think they’re entitled to the half hour free after the money runs out,” remarked Cllr Caroline Dwane, supporting Cllr Fitzgerald’s motion.
“The Lyster Square car park has to be regulated, they’re driving on top of each other,” said Cllr Kathleen O’Brien, adding that at times on a Friday traffic is very busy.
“We should extend the free parking to an hour, half an hour is very short. A business permit is a good idea, but parking where?” she asked.
The councillors were informed in a written communication from Pat Delaney, of the county council’s roads department, that parking bye-laws will be reviewed in 2014.
Any changes to the current bye-laws will be discussed with the bye-law committee prior to being progressed through the public display process and the council meeting.