Dublin Zoo has confirmed it has received a number of complaints after reports of parking ‘chaos’ in Phoenix Park during the busy Easter holiday.
Here there have been calls for short-term measures to be put in place before the summer following claims that some families have been forced to abandon plans to visit the zoo.
The loss of 1,200 parking spaces along Chesterfield Avenue to facilitate permanent cycle lanes has been blamed for the problem.
In a statement to Independent.ie, Dublin Zoo said it had received complaints about parking availability at peak times.
“Dublin Zoo supports the OPW’s ambition to make Phoenix Park a safe recreational space for visitors,” a spokesperson said.
“Decisions regarding traffic management and the number of parking spaces in Phoenix Park are made entirely at the request of the OPW.
“We are currently engaging with them on approaches to reduce the volume of traffic in the park that does not impact the accessibility of Dublin Zoo to visitors and staff.”
According to the OPW, there are around 1,640 parking spaces in Phoenix Park, including 900 “within a mile of Dublin Zoo”.
‘This does not include the other 630 parking spaces available at Farmleigh House,’ they added.
On Twitter, broadcaster Maia Dunphy described the parking situation for visitors to Dublin Zoo as “unnecessary”.
“Europe’s largest enclosed park, home to Dublin Zoo, effectively ‘banning’ cars without alternative transport is ridiculous,” she tweeted.
She said that although she doesn’t have a car herself and is an advocate of walking, cycling and public transport, “I’m also an advocate of common sense.”
“Dublin Zoo is one of the country’s biggest attractions. A friend of mine has planned a trip from Wexford with her three children (one in a buggy) over Easter.
“People suggest she should have driven to the red cow, got everyone on the Luas to Heuston, walked 1 mile uphill to the zoo and then the same back home.”
His comments drew a mixed reaction, with some saying there are “thousands” of parking spaces in Phoenix Park, while others raised concerns about access for disabled visitors and the lack public transport to the zoo.
Earlier this year, plans for a new bus route through the park were turned upside down after it was discovered that the planned entrance gate to Cabra was too narrow.
The proposed pilot bus service would have linked Heuston and Broombridge stations via the park, with stops at Dublin Zoo and the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre.
Despite the setback, the National Transport Authority (NTA) and the Office of Public Works (OPW) have insisted plans for the bus service are ‘making progress’.
Senator Emer Currie (FG) said it was clear short-term solutions were needed before the summer.
“Actions from the study launched by the OPW last summer included the promise of a parking strategy by the end of the year to deal with the significant loss of 1,200 spaces on Chesterfield Avenue “, she said.
“A pilot bus line to improve public transport links has also been promised – but we are still waiting for both.
“I have repeatedly reported that this will cause chaos when the number of visitors to Dublin Zoo and Park increases.
“We had a very busy Easter in Phoenix Park and that’s exactly what happened, but the problems were already there.”
In a response to Senator Currie on behalf of Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan, who is responsible for the OPW, it was admitted that parking in Phoenix Park is “a concern.”
“The Minister and the Office of Public Works are deeply committed to ensuring that Phoenix Park is accessible to all and that people can access it and feel safe there,” he said.
“This is extremely important for people of all ages. Long-term parking by commuters, as well as high levels of illegal parking around the perimeter of the park, were identified as major issues in the transport and transport study. mobility. These issues need to be addressed.”
The OPW said one of the key recommendations of the Phoenix Park Transportation and Mobility Options Study post-consultation report was that bike lanes on Chesterfield Avenue be made permanent.
“To facilitate this, parking is no longer permitted on Chesterfield Avenue, providing a safer area for cyclists, and in turn pedestrians, who now have full access to the pathways,” a spokesperson said. .
“The OPW has just appointed consultants to undertake a parking strategy for Phoenix Park over the next six months.
“This will identify key parking issues, challenges and opportunities in and around Phoenix Park.”