Re-think needed on the return of cars to Phoenix Park
15 May 2020
Seanad Whip and Spokesperson on Employment Affairs, Media, Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht
With the partial re-opening of the Phoenix Park to cars on Monday 18th, Labour Senator Marie Sherlock has said now is the time to re-think the planned full re-opening of the Park to vehicular access on June 8th.
Senator Sherlock has written to Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran who has responsibility for the OPW to express her concerns that, “not only should through traffic be banned from the park but a number of the vehicular gates should also be closed to general traffic to allow safer entrance of cyclists and pedestrians”.
Senator Sherlock continued:
"A civic enagagment should also be established between the OPW and the communities adjacent to the park and interested others to discuss and agree future access and use of the park.
"Many park users are understandably upset that the Phoenix Park will begin to revert back to 'normal' from Monday.
“The forced closure of the park to vehicles since late March has meant that many in the surrounding communities have been able to enjoy the park like never before.
"The absence of general traffic from the park has ensured that it is a much safer and more pleasant environment, particularly for those with young children and for those getting daily exercise.
“This recent experience must not be lost but should inform a discussion between the OPW and the communities surrounding future access and use to the park.
“Calls to ban cars indefinitely from the Park are understandable but would serve to exclude many from accessing and enjoying the amenities of the park such as the elderly, those with physical or visual impairments, those with other conditions and a number of others.
"Furthermore, a ban on cars should not mean that the parking issue becomes re-located to roads immediately outside the park, infringing on those communities.
“It is not enough to just ban through traffic from the Park- many of the vehicular access points have become safe access havens for cyclists and pedestrians in recent weeks.
“At over 1750 acres, the Phoenix Park is large enough to be able to accommodate a number of solutions. It is possible to imagine that vehicular access could be restricted to the main thoroughfare and to a number of the car parks.
"Importantly, these decisions should be made on the basis of consultation with local communities and other users."