We need to make it easier to shop local – rethinking parking in Greystones

11th April 2014

Over the past few months I have spoken to a number of retailers on Church Road in Greystones that have raised concerns about the parking system that is in place in the town. I have taken their comments and have written to Wicklow County Council, suggesting improvements to the parking system for the benefit of retailers and the community.

The current paid parking scheme was designed to prevent commuters from parking in the town centre for the entire day. And it has been successful. But there’s a downside; shoppers are either rushed or they are choosing to shop in out of town locations, where parking isn’t an issue. There is an opportunity to design a more flexible approach to parking that doesn’t turn shoppers away from the town.

I have put forward the following proposals:

  1. Extend the ‘grace’ period from 10 to 30 mins to facilitate smaller shopping runs. This approach is being introduced in villages of South Dublin, including Clondalkin, Lucan, Rathcoole, Rathfarnham, Tallaght and Templeogue.
  2. ‘Free after Three’: This would see free parking after 3pm on weekdays. This encourages residents to shop during a traditionally quiet period, and has been used to great effect throughout the UK.
  3. Two-hour free on Saturdays. A 2 hour free period on every Saturday currently in operation in Wicklow Town. This would boost the retailers in the town and bring more footfall and business to the area.
  4. Introducing a pay-by-phone parking service, as was recently launched in Wicklow and Arklow towns.
  5. A review of commercial and disabled parking spaces ; their location, number and operation.

I believe that failure to address this issue will only see Greystones slip further down the pecking order as a retail destination and a place where people can come together. I look forward to hearing back from the Wicklow County Council regarding their own strategies to improve the situation and my proposals.