Mullingar’s parking bylaws are once again to go on public display after councillors pressed ahead with increasing on-street parking from the current one-hour maximum to two hours.
In spite of the insistence of the council executive that people tend to pay for less than 40 minutes when parking on the street, councillors agreed to amend the bylaws, which were passed just last November, to allow people to park for up to two hours.
A joint motion from Cllrs Aidan Davitt and Ken Glynn called on the council to “support businesses in Mullingar by immediately introducing two-hour maximum on-street parking”.
The motion came in the wake of a survey carried out by Mullingar Chamber of Commerce, which found that 95 per cent of retailers would like to see two-hour paid parking introduced on the town’s main streets.
“Out of 110 retailers, 104 said yes, they would like to see two-hour parking,” said Cllr Glynn.
“There will be no loss of revenue; we are not seeking a reduction. People will be putting €2 into the machine instead of €1.”
Cllr Davitt added that they had waited the required six months after the passing of the bylaws to now seek to amend them.
“I feel very strongly about this and business people feel very strongly. People do not feel an hour is long enough,” he said.
Cllr Peter Burke said the members had to respect what the retailers are looking for.
However there was a note of caution from Cllr Denis Leonard who suggested other people should also be surveyed, such as elderly people who would like to park in front of a shop but can’t get a space.
The council’s director of services also argued that the change to a two-hour limit would “create less of a turnover as others won’t be able to find parking”.
He added that there is a cost of €200 to change each machine to cater for the change in time limits, and there would also be a cost in changing on-street signage.
The parking bylaws are to go out on public display again for three months before the full council has a chance to vote again on the amendment.