herald

Thursday 24 August 2017

40 high-rise car parks needed as trips to the city centre set to soar

AN additional 40 high-rise parking blocks will be needed in Dublin city centre in the next nine years unless alternatives are put in place, according to Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe.

Journeys to the city centre are due to increase by 50,000 by 2023 - unless something is done to accommodate the extra commuting needs.

Up to 40,000 of these journeys will be made in private cars it is predicted.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Donohoe said that he would not consider introducing London-style city centre congestion charges or any other tolls to alleviate traffic problems until an improved public transport system is put in place.

He said "more growth, less congestion" is his main aim, and that he has no intention of imposing penalties and extra costs on commuters until attractive alternative forms or transport are put in place in the capital.

Minister Donohoe said he has prioritised the ongoing Newlands Cross junction project and a plan to improve Irish Rail's signalling.

"I am confident we will be able to maintain the same level of service next year that Irish Rail has this year," he said.

He said that he plans to have Irish Rail's resignalling project on stream by next year.

This would enable up to 20 trains an hour to pass through the city centre in both direction.

He said that Irish Rail represents his "most significant challenge" because of their "unsustainable" losses.

The firm made losses of €16.4m last year and total losses of €148m in the past six years.

Funding

However, passenger numbers are up by 2.7pc so far this year and Mr Donohoe said that capital funding was a priority for the company.

Irish Rail are currently in discussions with the National Transport Authority about how much of its services can be sustained on current funding.

Mr Donohoe said that he will be discussing Irish Rail's capital budget with the National Transport Authority in the coming weeks.

Elsewhere, Mr Donohoe said the Phoenix Park tunnel could open in 2016 to link Heuston, Connolly and Docklands train stations. He said that despite this line passing through Cabra in his own constituency that there will be no need for a new stop there as it will be well served by the incoming Luas cross-city line in 2017.

hnews@herald.ie

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