After months of waiting, grating and anticipating the new parking at Naas & Sallins rail station finally opened this week. The facility is part of the overall complex in the Waterways which includes a supermarket and apartments but the underground piece is exclusively for rail users. The old car parks on both sides of the station still exist but will also become pay parking and have been altered somewhat to allow link up with the new facility. Cars now enter the old Naas side and the underground facility via the entrance to the Waterways at the traffic lights. The Sallins entrance and parking remains unchanged although that will also now become chargeable. A net total of 202 extra spaces will be created by the development.
The charge will be 2 EURO a day or better value 5 EURO for a 7-day ticket. Whilst there were some quibbles over this my personal view is that it is not unreasonable. There is a brand new facility provided so it is not just charging for what used be free. Also whilst it is not an option for everyone, the charge may incentivise some to now walk, cycle or feeder bus to station rather than driving.
NASRUG have lobbied on this issue since the start and with the opening of this car park we negotiated an initial waiver of the pay-parking period until the new year to at least get people accustomed to the facility. So until the 31st Dec no charge applies.
With my Fianna Fáil hat on I also sought a form of tax relief on commuter parking. Whilst it was not granted in this budget I understand it will be considered over the next year and may well form part of the taxsaver scheme in future. (Some coverage here although typo on my name)
Many will breathe a sigh of relief that the new facility is finally in operation. Obviously the many motorists who had struggled day in, day out for the past year or two as the old car park creaked at the seams. Similarly the village had begun to suffer the effects of the overspill and parking all around the main street, community centre, canal view, nearby estates was becoming a nightmare for local residents and businesses. Not all due to rail users but it must be acknowledged the station shortage was a major factor. The extra spaces will hopefully encourage more people to use the service which again can only be a good thing. Less cars on the roads to Dublin and more people on the trains.
There is more to be done but this is definitely the right direction. With increased usage comes the need for greater capacity in car parking and greater capacity on trains. Continued investment in public transport is required to bring our service up to speed but I am heartened by the capital spending pledges of the budget. And the promise of Transport21 with all that will bring…
As my home broadband is switching providers this may be my last post of 2007. Seasons greetings and happy new year to all!