21/10/2008

City Centre Residents Win Free Parking Scheme

Just months after holding informal consultations with people living in parts of inner city areas of Belfast who are plagued by parking problems caused by non-residents using their streets for free all-day parking, a parking-for-residents plan has been mooted.

NI Transport Minister, Conor Murphy (pictured) has now announced, that after listening to concerns from residents, he will be introducing a free residents car parking schemes in five areas in Belfast.

The Minister made the announcement following a meeting today with local representatives for south and west Belfast, the Sinn Fein MLAs, Alex Maskey and Fra McCann.

Mr Murphy welcomed the recent engagement between local communities and his Department for a residents parking scheme in five inner city areas of Belfast including Barrack Street, Donegall Pass, Sandy Row, The Markets (west of Cromac Street) and Brown's Square.

The Minister said: "For many years local communities situated on the periphery of Belfast city centre have been plagued by all-day commuter parkers.

"I have been clear that a scheme would not be introduced without community support and I have listened carefully to residents concerns about any costs associated with the introduction of a scheme, particularly in the current economic climate.
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"I have decided that the proposed schemes will be free for residents in these five areas most heavily affected," he revealed.

"The schemes are equally about preventing others parking all day in these streets as allowing the residents to park and I do believe they will finally alleviate the ongoing problems, providing local communities with the solution they require and allow local residents to park close to their homes," he said.

There will be further consultation with residents on the specific operation of each scheme in the proposed areas.

The proposed 'Residents Car Parking Schemes' will introduce a 'Controlled Parking Zone' and parking in an area will require the display of a permit.

Once these schemes have been introduced, they will be monitored and assessed to determine their effectiveness at reducing all-day commuter parking in the five inner city areas, before consideration is given to introducing schemes in other areas.

There was a great deal of objection to an earlier proposal which would have involved residents being forced to pay a (much-reduced) annual fee as part of a pay-as-you-park scheme, with local people paying for a 'licence' to park at their own doors, which sparked the original series of consultation across both nationalist and unionist-orientated areas of the inner city.

See: Parking Protest Unites Communities

(BMcC)

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