A three-hour restricted parking period is to be piloted in Moate in the near future in an attempt to alleviate parking problems and boost local business in the town.
The idea had originally been mooted as a two-hour restricted period by Fine Gael councillor John Dolan at September’s meeting of the Athlone Municipal District. However, after consulting with local people and stakeholders this was revised to three hours.
It is proposed that the free parking area will run from the Clara Road junction to The Gap House at the Mount Temple Road junction. Parking in Moate will continue to be free of charge, with the move aimed at preventing people from leaving their cars in the town all day every day, something that is having a negative impact on trade. Parking permits will also be available for residents living in the area.
Addressing the chamber, Cllr Dolan welcomed news that the plan for the pilot scheme is progressing. He said the existence of the doctors’ surgery and several other important services in the area has caused a revision of the restricted period from two to three hours.
Independent councillor Michael O’Brien, said it was important not to restrict trade in town by making the time frame too short, and that three hours is “more feasible” in terms of encouraging people to visit Moate.
Fianna Fáil councillor Aengus O’Rouke, hailed the move as “a positive step”, however, he questioned who will be responsible for enforcing the three-hour limit.
Director of services Barry Kehoe told councillors that there is no funding in place for “heavy enforcement”. The job will come under the remit of the current Community Warden, who will visit Moate on a regular basis, note the cars and their registrations, and return at three hour intervals to administer tickets to those who flout the terms.
Mr Kehoe added that the amendments will be made to the bylaw, which will then go on public display, before coming before the council for approval in around two months time. The time frame for the pilot has yet to be decided, but Cllr John Dolan said he hopes to see the scheme in operation for a year before being examined for its effectiveness and, possibly, being introduced on a long-term basis.