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January roll-out for Westport parking fees

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LOOKING FOR FEEDBACK AND CO-OPERATION  Catherine McConnell, Director of Services, MCC.

In a recent meeting of West Mayo Municipal District, the members voted with a 5:2 majority to adopt a new set of by-laws that update the current defective by-laws in relation to traffic flow and parking in Westport.
The changes offer a comprehensive answer to traffic congestion in the town of Westport and are also in-keeping with the town’s overall Smarter Travel strategy, according to a statement released by Mayo County Council to The Mayo News on Monday afternoon.
“With this clear mandate, Mayo County Council and West Mayo Municipal District are ensuring that the implementation of the laws is carried out in a timely and considerate manner, taking into account all stakeholder requirements and assessing how the parking by-laws will impact their day-to-day lives of residents and visitors to the town,” said the statement.  
“The heritage status of the town, together with its consistently high achievement in Tidy Towns, were key influences in the selection of the methodology to manage and regulate on street parking.

Two zones
“The street parking laws will designate two separate zones, blue and pink, with two different rates applying to each. The first hour of parking will be free in the pink zone with a cost of €1 for the second hour, this zone includes the town centre and a parking restriction of two hours only will also be in place. The blue zone, which includes the Quay area, will cost 60 cent per hour with a daily rate of €3.
“An annual rate of €350 per year or €35 per month will be charged for those who choose to park in James Street and Mill Street Car Parks, an annual charge of €240 per year or €25 per month will apply for the High Street Car Park. These annual rates also qualify for tax relief,” added the statement.
Catherine McConnell, Director of Services, at Mayo County Council said the council could not anticipate the decision of the members on this matter.
“However, since the by-laws were adopted with the amendments as proposed, we have been working on the development and implementation of the most appropriate and flexible management systems for Westport town and foresee their roll-out taking place in early 2019.  Over the next few weeks, we will continue to engage with the elected representatives of the MD, the Chamber and traders to keep them updated and get their feedback and co-operation with the new on-street parking management,” said Ms McConnell.
The council state that the objectives of the new by-laws, voted in to tackle traffic congestion, unregulated parking and to balance the parking opportunities throughout the town, so that all town centre parking spaces and car parks offer the visitor a range and choice of parking options depending on location.
The council add that the provision of this new parking regime will see an increase in the turnover of spaces, allowing more people to access parking at all times of the day. Increased sized accessible parking spaces, which have been designed in accordance with the requirements of disability organisations, are also being implemented.

A brief overview of the main changes are as follows
Schools Buses: All school buses will have designated drop off/pick up points strategically located to improve safety, minimise traffic disruption, improve traffic flow and minimise walking distance for students. These proposals have been agreed with all schools and bus operators.

Other Buses: The proposals provide for the creation of 16 additional bus bays to cater for short term set down and long term stay which will more than double the current bus bay capacity and facilitate greater numbers of bus-based day-trip visitors.

Parking: Street parking charges are proposed in two zones with a reduced charge applying outside the town core area and opportunities for longer stay parking. Permits are available for the various categories of users.

The council state they are confident that these measures will significantly improve traffic congestion in the town.
Car parks: Car park charges will still apply at a lower rate than the proposed street charges in the town core. Permits are available for the various categories.

Other proposals: Includes improvements to management of loading bays, short term parking, accessible parking, regulation of key junctions, changes of direction of traffic flow at three locations. These improvements will assist traffic flow and minimise congestion.

The council concluded that in addition to the parking and traffic flow changes, several town centre residential housing estates will become residents permit parking only, as a measure to protect residents parking, visitor permits will also be issued as requested to these residents at no charge. Eight new electric car charging points will also come on stream around the town as the need arises.

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