LIMERICK city motorists are facing a big disc parking hike but business leaders have welcomed the move saying it will help make shopping more user-friendly.
From July 1, the cost of a disc will rise to €2 from €1.50.
Limerick Chamber of Commerce, which is spearheading a drive to bring more shoppers into the city, said the increase in disc parking must be seen as part of the bigger picture.
Chamber chief executive Maria Kelly said: “We must consider Limerick as a European city and discourage traffic from coming into the centre.
“To do this, we must develop the green routes [bus lanes] in tandem with a park and ride service that will transport people into the city. Increasing the cost of parking will discourage people from parking in the streets.”
She said the pedestrianisation of Bedford Row and Thomas Street had been a huge success.
Well-known book shop owner David O’Mahony said the increase in disc parking would inflict short-term pain, but would bring long-term benefits.
“We must encourage the use of car parks to free up the streets and create an attractive, clean and safe city centre that will allow public transport to move freely. In my view, to raise the price of on-street parking is not a penalty — it is a necessity,” he said.
Limerick shoppers are being drawn in increased numbers to suburban shopping centres which provide free parking.
City centre business leaders and management at the city council say less cars and more dedicated bus lanes can reverse the drop-off in city centre trading, but Limerick City Council management are locked in a battle with elected members over the opening up of a number of bus routes into the city centre.
Council officials say it is imperative to have a well developed bus route network. But at a meeting earlier this week, council members voted in favour of a motion blocking the development of a number of bus routes inside the city boundary.
Officials say they are bound by government directions — on urban traffic management — to proceed with the bus routes.
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