Last night Dublin City Council agreed to change its policy towards parking enforcement.
I have attached below a copy of the report presented to Councillors for your review but at the February Transportation SPC Meeting Dublin City Council issued a report indicating the proposal to commence operation of a pilot scheme issuing Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN’s) in respect of some parking offences. These offences are again listed below;
• Blocking Clearways, Cycle tracks, Bus lanes
• Footpath Parking
• Non-Commercial Parking in Loading bays
• Illegal Coach / Bus Parking
It is proposed that Dublin Street Parking Services (DSPS) will operate the pilot scheme on behalf of Dublin City Council as they are the incumbent Parking Enforcement Contactor and have extensive experience in issuing FPN’s in other local authorities in County Dublin.
The assessment of the pilot scheme will use indicators such as the instances of footpath parking that is reported, enforcement figures, general compliance levels in hotspot areas, following the initial pilot scheme the merits of a dedicated warden service can also be investigated.
In the presentation of the report and the subsequent discussion a lot of information was given and a number of concerns and queries were raised which may not have been adequately addressed in the limited time available. This follow up note should provide further clarity on those queries and on this proposed policy change.
Follow Up Clarification
FPN’s are being proposed as an additional enforcement option and only to be used where to deploy clamping or relocation enforcement isn’t the most efficient or suitable options. It is NOT the intention of the Parking Enforcement Division to introduce FPN’s as a replacement to clamping and the well-established relocation and removal options.
Dublin City Council views vehicles causing obstruction, to pedestrians and transportation flows as one of the most common and widespread parking issues in the City. If a vehicle is clamped in a clearway or on a footpath, then the offending motorist is subjected to enforcement but the vehicle remains in situ until the motorist returns, pays for the de-clamp, and DSPS returns to remove the clamp, or until a tow truck becomes available. With the vehicle in situ it is still causing obstruction issues for pedestrians, cyclists, traffic.
DSPS have been instructed to focus heavily on relocating these offenders, which removes the vehicle and locates it in area where it doesn’t cause an obstruction, but the vehicle is still clamped and motorist will have to pay a de-clamp fee. However, in the situation where a tow truck is not available immediately then the offending vehicle may drive off before any enforcement action can be taken.
In these cases, the FPN’s are a more suitable enforcement measure as the tickets can be written quickly and immediately issued, and there is a far greater chance of all vehicles offending, being subjected to enforcement.
The most common query at the SPC on this report was the issue of footpath parking and enforcing for this offence.
When considering how we approach this offence we need to differentiate between the city centre area and the suburban residential areas. No footpath parking is allowed within the city centre and DSPS are instructed to immediately enforce this offence once they come across it.
Where Dublin City Council currently allow some flexibility around footpath parking is in residential areas where there is a significant lack of off-street parking. As a general rule of thumb if a double buggy can pass the vehicle and inside wall or hedge/gate then no enforcement is to be carried out. If a vehicle is parked close to a junction corner/ or falls outside the rule of thumb, then the vehicle is enforced.
However, it is also clear that this is by nature rather subjective ad- hoc and discretionary and so it is proposed to bring clearer policy guidelines to the next Transportation SPC for discussion with the members taken into particular context the needs of disabled and visually impaired users.
Offending coaches are very difficult to clamp, due to the larger wheels. Also, it needs to be borne in mind that to carry stock of larger clamps isn’t practical operationally. The FPN is more efficient in these cases and can be issued without confrontation and interaction with the drivers.
The appeals process will be very similar to appealing a clamp or relocation and this will be handled by the same process as is currently in place. There is also an escalation of the fine if not paid by certain dates and if still not paid a court appearance will be initiated. Dublin Council will follow suit with that as; Fine is initially €40 for an offence rising to €60 after 28 days, if court proceedings are initiated then at summons stage and additional €37 is added to the / €60 to cover costs.
Experience in other Local Authorities
Before proposing the FPN pilot, Dublin City Council spoke extensively to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co. Council on their experiences, shortcomings, and advantages. DLR reported a 70% rate of payment, this wasn’t reached overnight but through consistent and robust enforcements over time. Dublin City Council would hope to see similar figures after an initial bedding in period. DLR also reported significant compliance with parking controls and reduced amounts of illegal parking.
Dublin City Council views the pilot FPN’s as a positive step to increasing compliance with parking regulations around the city, it will be effective against short stay parking offences which cannot be adequately enforced at present with the clamping and tow away service.
I supported this initiative for two very simple reasons:
- It will help make the problem of illegal parking on footpaths go away.
- It will dramatically shift peoples’ behaviour.
Arbour Hill, Ballybough, Broadstone, Church Street, City Centre, Clonliffe Road, Constitution Hill, Drumcondra, Dublin City Council, East Wall, Fine Gael, Garda, Grangegorman, Markets, Montpelier, North Circular Road, North Strand, North Wall, Phibsborough, Policing, Quays, Rathdown Road, Smithfield, Stoneybatter, Transportation
Fine Gael Councillor - North Inner City
Leader, Fine Gael, Dublin City Council
Chair, Urban Form & Planning Strategic Policy Committee