Disabled drivers cannot access city centre parking spaces in Cork

Disabled drivers cannot access city centre parking spaces in Cork
Cars are not allowed on Patrick's Street between 3.30pm and 6.30pm each day so disabled drives cannot use parking bays on Academy Street or outside St Peter and Paul's Church. Picture: Denis Minihane.

CITY Council’s inability to allow disabled badge holding drivers to access parking in the Patrick Street area has been labelled an “absurdity”.

Green Party councillor Lorna Bouge has gained the support of councillors to write to Transport Minister Shane Ross to ask him to conduct a review of legislation governing access to disabled parking spots via designated bus lanes as soon as possible.

Ms Bogue said an example of the issues with current legislation relates to restrictions disabled parking spots on Patrick Street and she expressed her frustration that the council has no power to change this because bus lanes are governed by national legislation.

There are four disabled parking bays on Academy Street and two bays at St Peter and Paul’s Church.

However, users of the disabled bays cannot exit the spots after 3pm, because of the Patrick Steet daily private car ban which is in place until 6.30pm each day, and enter onto Patrick Street.

This means that if they need to remove their cars, they would have to reverse back down one-way Academy Street to join up with traffic.

Ms Bogue’s colleague Oliver Moran described the situation as “absurd”.

“This council cannot stop people driving illegally in a bus lane and we have to write to the Minister to allow disabled people to park in the designated spots next to that bus lane. This is a simple transport matter and we have to write to national Government to allow disabled people in the bays that we have designated for them. That’s an absurdity," Mr Moran added.

Meanwhile, fines for parking in cycle lanes have increased to 174 in the first eight months of 2019 with City Hall having a full complement of enforcement staff.

City Hall director of operations Valerie O’Sullivan said: "Parking in cycle lanes is not specifically defined as an offence in the current bylaws. The offence for a parking fine of this type is ‘parking a vehicle in a manner in which will interfere with normal flow of traffic or which obstructs or endangers other traffic’.

“In the period of January 2019-August 2019 174 fines were issued for vehicles parked on a cycle lane and 1,108 fines were issued for vehicles parked on double yellow lines.

“Currently, there are 16 traffic wardens and two supervisors employed by Cork City Council. There are no vacancies,” Ms O’Sullivan added.

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