City council clamping revenues stall as illegal parking down 50%

Only eight vehicles immobilised in city during March at height of first Covid-19 lockdown

Mespil Road which was the city’s top blackspot for clamping in four of the previous five years does not even feature in the 2020 top 10. File photograph: Getty

Mespil Road which was the city’s top blackspot for clamping in four of the previous five years does not even feature in the 2020 top 10. File photograph: Getty

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The number of vehicles clamped for parking illegally in Dublin city last year declined 50 per cent, according to Dublin City Council.

Clarendon Street, which is near Grafton Street in the city centre, emerged as the capital’s worst blackspot for offending motorists. Figures provided by the council reveal the impact of lockdowns on traffic has had a significant effect on parking enforcement rates with 23,383 vehicles clamped in 2020 – down more than 23,100 on 2019.

Only eight vehicles were clamped in the city during March at the height of the first lockdown. This compares with the monthly average of almost 3,900 the previous year.

Reduced traffic has also had an impact on council revenue from parking fees and fines.

Provisional figures indicate overall income from parking revenue sources last year fell 38 per cent to just under €21 million, down from €33.8 million in 2019.

The bulk of revenue still comes from parking fees, which were down 37 per cent, or €11 million, to just over €19 million.

Clarendon Street is now where motorists are most likely to have their vehicles clamped after almost a tenfold increase in numbers detected parking there illegally. A total of 625 vehicles were clamped on Clarendon Street, which runs parallel to Grafton Street at the back of the Westbury Hotel, last year compared to 67 in 2019.

The South Circular Road retained its position in second place with 369 vehicles clamped in 2020, although this is almost 250 fewer than the previous year.

Two roads in Ranelagh – Chelmsford Road and the main street – were the next most common places for clamping. Blackspots are predominantly on the city’s south side with only two of the top 10 locations north of the river Liffey – Capel Street and Commons Street.

Mespil Road which was the city’s top blackspot for clamping in four of the previous five years does not even feature in the 2020 top 10. A total of 148 vehicles were clamped on the road, which compares with 911 in 2019.

Other locations previously a popular target for clampers including Burlington Road, Parnell Street, Ormond Quay and Townsend Street no longer feature in the main areas for detecting illegal parking. The figures show the most common time for vehicles to be clamped last year was between 8am and 10am, while the most number of clamps occurred on Thursdays.

Meanwhile, detection rates for catching offending motorists are even higher in parts of the suburbs controlled by the other three local authorities in Dublin with Convent Lane in Dún Laoghaire recording the highest number of parking fines across the city and county last year.

A total of 1,273 motorists were issued with €40 fines in 2020 for parking on Convent Lane – a small side street next to the Bloomfields Shopping Centre in Dún Laoghaire.

Main Street in Lucan was the only other location where more than 1,000 motorists were caught parking illegally last year, with a total of 1,065 being fined.

Other areas outside the city where motorists are likely to get caught parking illegally are: Robinhood Road, Ballymount; Rock Hill, Blackrock; Cookstown Way, Tallaght; Main Street, Swords; and Monkstown Crescent in Monkstown.

Dublin city top 10 clamping blackspots in 2020 (numbers clamped)

  1.  Clarendon Street – 625
  2. South Circular Road – 396
  3. Chelmsford Road – 294
  4. Ranelagh – 260
  5. South William Street – 255
  6. Merrion Square South – 253
  7. Capel Street – 247
  8. Commons Street – 217
  9. Merrion Square West – 201
  10. Waterloo Road – 183