Dublin City Council has agreed to form a strategy in an effort to tackle illegal parking on footpaths across the city.
Councillors voted to approve a motion tabled by Green Party councillor Janet Horner at this month’s council meeting.
Horner asked the local authority and the Transport Strategic Policy Committee to “develop a strategy to eliminate footpath parking in the city.”
Horner said that while parking on footpaths is an offence, and punishable by a fixed charge penalty notice, “it continues to be widespread across the city.
“The realities of that means that for a lot of people using the streets, they are simply not accessible,” she said.
“One of the reasons why I am so passionate about this is because in my own area, there are businesses that will frequently use the footpaths to park on.
“I have seen wheelchair users sit and wait for a pizza company to load the pizzas into their vehicle and drive off again.
“It is not acceptable that it is common practice for businesses to continue to do that.”
Horner said the problem is also “common practice” in residential areas where to date, “the council has turned a blind eye.”
“I think the time has come where we need to be really proactive about this.
“What I would like to see, beyond the fix charge penalty notices, is being much firmer with businesses where it is common practice – where we know loading and unloading is happening.
“This can involve looking for solutions with those businesses, not simply just penalising them.
“I do think we need that level of engagement.”
Horner also said the current condition of footpaths across the city is a “significant” problem.
“Broken footpaths are a massive hazard for people, particularly vulnerable and older people.”
Social Democrats councillor Cat O’Driscoll backed Horner’s motion saying that recent council-led safety audits found that “broken and hazardous footpaths make people feel unsafe.
“Whether they have a bit of difficulty moving around or if they feel they need to get away quickly from a situation – the footpaths are actually a big factor in peoples minds.
“As a council we are spending a lot of money on getting footpaths repaired and the biggest thing damaging them is people using them as parking spaces.”
Green Party councillor Donna Cooney says this is “probably the issue that I get tagged in on Twitter and contacted about the most.
“In my area, you have it Griffith Avenue, in Fairview, in Killester.
“They are making it unsafe for people to walk.
“Traffic wardens cannot cope with the number.”
However, some councillors raised concerns about the enforceability of a new strategy or change in policy.
Councillor Patricia Roe said the resources and staff are not available and Ballyfermot councillor Vincent Jackson said that a lot people “don’t have the luxury of yard in front of their house to park their car.”
Jackson said that many estates around the city are old and cannot provide parking.
This was echoed by Fine Gael councillor Anne Feeney.
Assistant chief executive in the Environment and Transportation Department John Flanagan said that the matter was a complex issue and it was “impossible for us to be everywhere.
“There are issues with the width of the roads, the width of the footpaths, and where people can park and so on.”
However, the motion was passed unanimously by councillors and long-term strategy will be drafted by the council.