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It's the end of free parking in city centre

FREE on-street parking in Dublin city centre would become a thing of the past under new local authority plans.

Dublin City Council has drawn up plans to eliminate the remaining free parking spaces between the northside's Royal Canal and the Grand Canal on the southside.

It would mean that residents who have not chosen paid parking would have the pay-and-display system imposed on their neighbourhood.

This is a departure from the current practice which allows householders to choose whether or not they have paid parking on their street.



SHOPPERS

The council has insisted the move would combat commuter parking, while providing sufficient spaces for shoppers.

It is understood the proposals will be presented to city councillors this week.

Several streets in central areas -- like Buckingham Street in Dublin 1 -- still have free parking.

However, the spaces are in high demand from workers and generally fill up very quickly in the morning.

The council's policy is to encourage people to change from using private cars to taking public transport, cycling and walking.

Its on-street parking policy is designed to encourage the shift, it says.

On-street parking is priced and limited to a maximum of three hours in order to deter long-stay parking in the city centre and surrounding areas.

The local authority has around 33,000 pay-and-display parking spaces.

The cost of parking enforcement, operated by Dublin Street Parking Services, was €9.2m in 2010. The expense far outstripped the income from fines and clamping, which stood at €4.5m.

Nearly 20,000 permits are issued to residents who live in controlled parking areas.

In general, householders have asked for free spaces to be eliminated from their neighbourhoods when the area is heavily used by commuters.



RESIDENTS

The council's income from paid parking has gone from €28.6m in 2008 to €26.8m in 2009.

The figure for last year was just over €25m.

Parking permits for residents cost €40 for one year or €70 for two years.

comurphy@herald.ie