Planning, parking and a fantasy world


Sir, – A prominent feature of recent large-scale housing developments is the significant disparity between the number of residential units planned and the number of parking spaces. The redevelopment of the Central Mental Hospital is a case in point, where 1,300 homes are planned with provision for only 540 cars (Olivia Kelly, “Dundrum locals fear traffic gridlock over Central Mental Hospital site plans”, News, May 21st).

Supposedly the imposition from the outset of very limited parking facilities reflects the lack of need for people living in such homes to ever own even a single vehicle.

The fantasy world in which this might be a genuinely practical proposition is not yet in any way, shape or form a reality.

Available parking spaces are typically allocated permanently to specific properties. If you live in one of the other properties, the expectation seems to be that you will never, ever be able to own a vehicle, regardless of changes in your circumstances or situation.

This is, perhaps, acceptable for relatively young fit people, unencumbered by dependents, who routinely commute using adjacent public transport routes and are happy to have all of their bulky or heavy shopping delivered, and to take taxis or hire vehicles for any other occasional journeys.

It is completely unacceptable for people who are whose mobility is impaired, who need parking to facilitate the visits of carers or tradespeople, or for families with children who need to be transported frequently to various locations for school, football, swimming, etc, at times and intervals that are not amenable to public transport.

Furthermore, residents of homes without parking are effectively prohibited from taking any job that requires a car or van to move around between locations during the day, or in a location that is not well served by public transport.

The reality, readily observable in a host of developments, is that residents not allocated parking will own cars anyway – frequently more than one vehicle per unit.

They will park them wherever they can, resulting in the roads surrounding such developments being completely clogged with poorly parked vehicles, and traffic flows that are multiples of those allowed for by the original planners.

There is no practical reason why plans for new greenfield or brownfield developments should not include adequate parking, eg underground, so let us be honest and fair when planning housing developments.

Planners must ensure that failure to allow for adequate parking does not unduly reduce the quality of life or prospects of future residents, and developers and planners must not collude in the use of unrealistic parking limits to present a false and untenable vision of likely vehicle ownership levels and of what life will be like in the locality when a development is complete. – Yours, etc,




Dublin 7.