herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Car-sharing and off-site parking for hospital staff

National Children's Hospital
National Children's Hospital

STAFF at the new National Children’s Hospital will be encouraged to car share and will have extra parking off-site, the Herald can reveal. Details of the commuter strategy for the planned hospital are due to be released in full in the coming weeks.

The issue of staff travelling into the Dublin 8 location has been one of the most controversial aspects of the planning bid as locals fear the area is already too congested.

Email correspondence seen by the Herald under Freedom of Information laws show that it was originally suggested to adapt the Travelways transport plan  used for the Temple Street and Mater Hospitals for the new site.

Travelways was due to be used for the children’s hospital planned for the Mater site before planning permission was rejected. An award-winning website is now in place to help people travel to the two hospitals.

On April 28 of this year St James’s CEO, Professor Pat Plunkett, wrote to several people, including the CEO of the Children’s Hospital Group Eilish Hardiman saying: “I feel very uncomfortable “recycling” something which can be linked back to a previous project – think of the potential for criticism.”

Appealed

Both Ms Hardiman, and project director John Pollock appealed to Mr Plunkett to reconsider, insisting that it was not directly linked with the previous failed bid.

However, a spokeswoman for the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) said that the Smartertravel transport plan was being adapted to St James’s Hospital instead, following consultation with the National Transport Authority (NTA).

Smartertravel, an NTA initiative, is already used at a number of Dublin hospitals to encourage greener and healthier ways to get to work.

Under the plans for St James’s there will be additional parking for staff at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

A car-share scheme will be introduced and staff cycling

facilities will also be significantly improved.

There will also be pedestrian access to the campus from the Fatima Luas stop.

Other measures include a dedicated Smartertravel commuter centre, a website with a journey planning tool and staff will also be encouraged to take up the Bike to Work scheme.

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