Sunday, January 07, 2007

Parking Tax

There was a time that you found parking meters in or adjacent to busy town centres. Now, however, they are extending inexorably into the suburbs.

Dun Laoghaire is a classic example, where metered parking is in operation on all streets and it has extended to the main and side streets of its village suburbs of Sandycove, Glasthule, Monkstown etc.. The metered area is constantly extending and now the meters have appeared on Station Road and Marlborough Road, the main parking streets for commuters using Glenageary DART station. The all-day charge of €5 means that commuters will have to pay up to €25 extra per week.

Their presence means that other suburban streets near the station will now become home to the cars of daily commuters, while some commuters will simply decide that it’s as cheap to park in town as it is to pay parking and DART fares. Residents in those newly colonised streets will be greatly inconvenienced by the number of parked cars. They will be offered a solution by Owen Keegan - install parking meters on your road and the problem will move again.

Now Owen Keegan, county manager for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown has announced the immediate introduction of clampers to the borough, supposedly because of the high incidence of non-payment of parking fines.

In Keegan’s previous role as traffic tzar for Dublin, he introduced clamping to the capital. At the time, we were assured that clamping would only be used on cars that were illegally parked and causing an obstruction to traffic. We all know what a blatant lie that soon turned out to be.

Parking meters and clamping are merely taxation by another name. This is a purely opportunistic revenue raising operation, as no new or improved parking facilities have been introduced by the county council.

Footnote: a variant on this theme published as a letter in the Irish Examiner (13th Jan)

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