A REVERSAL of bylaws to allow for the restoration of free parking at Cloughleigh has been described as “neither practical, feasible or in the best interests of parking management,” by officials of Ennis Town Council.
This week’s meeting of the local authority saw Councillor Paul O’Shea describe the introduction of the parking charges as a “gross inconvenience” to teachers, parents and staff at Scoil Chríost Rí and he asked for the previous regime to be restored “as a gesture of goodwill”.
He stated that the Cloughleigh Road has become “hazardous”, however, the council have disputed this, saying the new arrangements have led to an improvement to traffic at the school.
Responding to the proposal, Leonard Cleary, town clerk stated, “Scoil Chríost Rí has worked in partnership with Ennis Town Council on several initiatives in service on the local community. The support of the school is greatly appreciated by Ennis Town Council. The new Ennis carpark bylaws and on-street pay-and-display bylaws came into effect on January 14, 2013. New road markings are now in place adjacent to the school area. These are designed for the safety of children and adults.
“Ennis Town Council consulted with the public, including the school, and introduced some changes based on feedback received. Ultimately, Ennis Town Council has a regulatory role. Ennis Town Council made a decision that balanced the needs of child safety, pedestrians, motorists and the car-parking needs of all Ennis citizens including teachers. With increased traffic in the school area in recent years, the traffic flow along the Cloughleigh Road will have to be maintained without disruption, apart from school wardens.
He added, “Ennis Town Council and Scoil Chríost Rí have highlighted to the parents the importance of motorists strictly adhering to double yellow lines and junction boxes close to Scoil Chríost Rí. With regard to the set-down areas, this must only be used for dropping off and picking up children and not for parking. Parking fines will be issued for non-compliance.”
The co-operation, he added, of motorists, parents and guardians with the school warden is required for the safety of children.
He outlined that the first hour free parking has been introduced at Cloughleigh car park to facilitate parents and visitors to the school and to manage overflow from on-street parking. The area will be patrolled by Ennis Town Council traffic wardens with overview from the Garda Station, he added.
The meeting heard that based on specific criteria, Clougleigh car park is available for citizens who are permit users for less than €2 per week, or €100 per year.
Mr Cleary added, “This rate has been adjusted to take account of the shorter school year and a rate of 52 weeks at €1.44 a week or €75 per year was agreed by the council to take account of the school’s input. Teachers are eligible to avail of this option of parking for €1.44 a week for 52 weeks.”
The meeting heard that to facilitate set-downs, drop-offs or collections of objects, there is an opportunity to park outside the school for a brief few minutes. “Cars can then be moved to the very near, spacious and low-cost car park. Many employees of various businesses in Ennis adopt this model for drop-off and set-down in similar street and car-park options,” said Mr Cleary.
He concluded, “It is the view of Ennis Town Council executive that the traffic flow, parking arrangements and pedestrian motor safety immediately outside Cloughleigh school have greatly improved. I do not view that a gross inconvenience exists for any of the parties named. It is neither practical, feasible, or in the best interests of parking management to commence a public consultation process to reverse part of the car parking bylaws and on street pay and display bylaws. I consider the adjacent Cloughleigh carpark to be very convenient to the school and encourage the eligible parties named to avail of the €1.44 per week option.”
Councillor Frankie Neylon commented that the people of Cloughleigh “were never as happy” since the new bylaws came into effect. Councillor Tommy Brennan stated, “They might not get a deal on parking like that when the municipal councils come in”. Councillor Mary Howard stated that the “problem has been moved up” as motorists are using free parking further up the road rather than using the car park. Councillor Michael Guilfoyle stated, “The council have done everything possible”, while Councillor Brian Meaney stated, “I know lots of people who would take the parking at that charge if they don’t want it”. Councillor Johnny Flynn stated the issue is causing a lot of concern in the area.