A full review of Naas town parking by-laws was agreed at a recent meeting of the Naas Municipal District. A motion I put forward was passed by the council seeking to immediately commence a review of the pay parking laws around the town. After 18 months of effort to improve the parking situation in Naas a root and branch review of the entire situation is now needed to bring things forward. Over the last 18 months I’ve made many attempts to bring about improvements to the parking situation in the town. It is becoming very frustrating and progress is slow. Therefore I believe at this stage the only way forward is to bring all parties together to hammer out a parking deal for the town. Businesses, residents and shoppers alike need progress on this critical issue.
Whilst there are a number of car parking options available throughout the town of Naas I strongly feel the presence of clamping operators in some of the car parks is a significant hurdle to the town centre development. I have tabled a motion for this month’s council meeting to engage with the private car parking operators to transition to a “pay on exit” barrier system instead of the clamping some operators currently use. I have heard too many horror stories from one car park in particular, and this needs to be tackled. I have also requested the council perform a wider study of parking needs and capacity in Naas town and am assured that is now in progress. Working with local traders I have proposed various amendments to the current pay parking system which I hope can be adopted following the study. Finally I have also asked whether the council could provide covers or “hoods” for the parking meters at times of free parking to avoid any confusion like happened last Christmas where some people paid anyway with the machines accepting money, despite free parking being in operation at the time.
A good meeting was held in Naas re the National Transport Authority proposals to change the layout of the Dublin road in Naas and pedestrianise Poplar Square. Whilst I feel some of the project has merit, such as increased cycle lanes and pedestrian crossings, I feel the loss of parking at Poplar Square is not appropriate at a time when parking is at a premium in the town.
One of the themes of my election campaign was to revitalise Naas town centre and restore the commercial heart of the town. Last August, shortly after being elected to the positions of Naas Mayor and Deputy Mayor respectively, Cllr. Seamie Moore and myself embarked on a series of meetings with traders throughout Naas town. Over the course of six meetings during August and September we met traders from different parts of the town and gathered notes on the issues that mattered to them. I would like to think we had a good handle on the “big picture” issues already but it is always worthwhile hearing what people have to say directly. We intend to tackle the big ticket items identified as far as we can and I will update again on those efforts in due course.
I came to live in Naas when it was a thriving town and as the county town I want to see it thrive again. Growing up above a shop myself, I am very familiar with the retail environment and I know footfall is the lifeblood of any high street business. There are a variety of issues from planning issues to commercial rates to parking to an anchor tenant but I have always believed ‘where there is a will there is a way’ and I am determined to get stuck into these issues if I am elected this May.