SHOPPERS can look forward to two hours of free parking a day over the festive season under new plans rolled out by the council.
Parking in the city centre has long been a hot button issue for elected representatives, traders and shoppers alike, with a working group set up recently to discuss Christmas parking initiatives.
The results, after submissions from councillors, local TD Kieran O’Donnell and the Limerick City Business Association, have been unveiled by the executive, including the suspension of disc parking from 3pm every day from Monday, November 24 until January 4.
A robust statement issued by Limerick City and County Council declared that “there is an inaccurate perception in Limerick city centre that parking is too expensive, unavailable or over enforced”.
“None of that is true,” said Rory McDermott of the Traffic Department. “There are 8,500 car park spaces in Limerick city centre. These consist of 3,000 on-street spaces of which 1,000 are in the core business district and 5,500 off-street spaces which are privately operated.
“The cost of on street car parking in Limerick city centre is one of the cheapest in the country at €1 per hour.
“All of our studies indicate that this is considered fair and reasonable and thirty minutes parking can be purchased from ParkMagic for 50c by phone and internet.
“Our message is that parking in Limerick city is good value, there is good choice and there is plenty availability for those wishing to come in and enjoy the city centre at Christmas time,” he added.
The scheme is also to be rolled out across the county in Newcastle West, Abbeyfeale and Kilmallock and was welcomed by councillors and Deputy O’Donnell.
Shoppers will be also able to pre-book their parking on-line or over the phone for €4 in all Q Park carparks in the city.
Mayor Michael Sheahansaid the promotion would “encourage greater footfall into the city centre in the afternoons and early evenings which will be a hive of activity”.
Fine Gael councillor Daniel Butler said the measures would “be of huge support to businesses and customers”.
Deputy O’Donnell, who surveyed retailers in the city on parking issues, said the local authority’s decision would “benefit shoppers and traders right across Limerick city and county”.
“It’s a win-win-win for Limerick, for shoppers, and for traders,” he added.