Photo by Zuzia Whelan.

Alan Wolf cycles to work every day from Kilbarrack to Stillorgan, but he’s had to change his route to avoid all the cars parking along East Wall Road near the 3Arena during events.

It’s just too dangerous to go that way at those times, says Wolf, a UCD researcher and a member of the cyclists’ campaign group, I BIKE Dublin. “I’ve stopped going on that road at night.”

Cars parking illegally around the 3Arena during events is a long-standing issue that Wolf has reported to Gardaí many times, he says. But without results.

For large events, Gardaí and the council work together on parking and traffic. A council spokesperson said prevention of illegal parking works better than punishment so they try to encourage people to use public transport and not drive.

Some Dublin city councillors say more should be done about illegal parking, whether on gig days at 3Arena or match days at Croke Park – or just everyday across the city.

A New Officer

From 2015 until this month, there has been no dedicated Dublin City Council parking-enforcement officer, according to a spokesperson for Dublin City Council.

However, the position has just been filled. “The Parking Enforcement Officer oversees all Parking Enforcement Services, including the City’s Parking Enforcement Contractor, Street Paid parking, [and] Parking Tag Service,” said the spokesperson.

Green Party Councillor Ciarán Cuffe has called for a reform of parking enforcementlaws in Dublin in recent months, including filling the until-now vacant position.

A new contract for the parking services on city streets, covering tasks such as clamping, parking tags and signage, is currently out to tender. It should be awarded early next year, said the council spokesperson.

“There’s real concern over enforcement issues, pavement parking, and parking on cycle lanes. I want to ensure the new contract tackles this,” said Cuffe.

“I’m pleased that in recent months people have focused on footpath parking,” he says, but he wants to see more action from An Garda Síochána in tackling illegal parking.

Planning an Event

Sinn Féin Councillor Ciarán O’Moore has in the past called out illegal parking on the cycle and footpaths along Alfie Byrne Road. Residents says it’s a big problem on match days in Croke Park, he says.

Wolf says there’s some parking on the footpaths and cycle track along the Alfie Byrne Road every single day. “When there is an event on, the road has wall-to-wall coaches on the track and path. I don’t know how people walk.”

Event organisers are supposed to submit event-management plans to Dublin City Council for all big events.

As part of that process, Gardaí have to submit a traffic-management plan, says Sergeant Jim Molloy, of the Garda Press Office. Gardaí take account of what public transport is available, crowd profile, and ticket sales.

The event plan might mean more buses and trains to stop people driving, said the council’s spokesperson. Molloy echoed that.

The council’s parking-enforcement contractor also patrols the area around the venue before and after events, said the council spokesperson. But prevention is better than towing and clamping, they said.

Gardaí also use Section 91 of the Road Traffic Act – under which they can “divert, regulate and control traffic and regulate and control the parking of vehicles” – for coaches on Alfie Byrne Road before and after concerts, they said.

The coach park in the Docklands “will be used for future events”, said Molloy. (It’s underused at the moment.)

Doing Better

“We need to provide an alternative to simply travelling by car to events,” says Cuffe.

“Venues could do more to promote walking and cycling,” he says, and suggests that there could be more transport links to big venues like Croke Park.

Wolf says he thinks Gardaí don’t see it from pedestrians’ points of view. “The East Wall Road around the 3Arena has gotten worse. I avoid the area now,” he says. “The way around it is better transport links to the area. Shuttle buses could drop-off nearby.”

“The management of the 3Arena has, and continues to, comply with the traffic management requirements of its planning permission,” says Ger Kenny, who handles press queries for 3Arena.

There’s the nearby Luas, a large car park, cycle parking and other public transport links nearby, he said. “We work closely with the Gardaí to ensure an appropriate traffic management plan is in place for each event at the venue.”

Zuzia Whelan is a city reporter for Dublin Inquirer.

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