Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Questions (103)

Seán Haughey


103. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if funding will be allocated to the OPW to provide extra parking spaces for cars, coaches and buses for visitors at the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin 9; if so, when work will commence in view of the fact there is no sufficient parking spaces to deal with the number of visitors parking during the peak season; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47977/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The National Botanic Gardens Glasnevin, which is managed by the Office of Public Works, has an existing public carpark which accommodates 72 cars and up to 4 coaches. Car Parking facilities are therefore available but, during busy periods, may be insufficient to meet demand. In line with OPW principles of sustainability, visitors are encouraged, where possible to walk, cycle or use public transport when travelling to the site. The Gardens are well served by Dublin Bus routes 4, 9, 83 and 155. Additional visitor parking is available at Glasnevin Cemetery and visitors can access the Gardens through the gate that connects the Gardens and the Cemetery.

The National Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin attracts over 600,000 visitors a year. During the recent half term period, the Gardens experienced unprecedented numbers of visitors (>8,000) on two particular days, creating traffic problems in the locale. Even doubling the available car parking space, even if that were possible, would have had little or no impact on the thousands of cars attempting to reach the site on such occasions.

The work of the Gardens, particularly in its fundamental role of conservation, research and education, is highly dependent on the vital propagation facilities and space of the nursery, which is, in effect, the powerhouse of the Gardens. When the first public carpark was constructed 19 years ago over a quarter of the original nursery area of the Gardens had to be sacrificed. Every area of the site is intensively used for the business of the Gardens and therefore it is not proposed to substantially increase car parking facilities on site.

I can confirm nevertheless that the Office of Public Works is in consultations with Dublin City Council on the issue. A number of measures have been put in place to deal, in particular, with the issue of vehicles parking on footpaths which is the primary cause of traffic congestion in the vicinity. It is anticipated that with increased monitoring and enforcement of the 7-day cycle lane, traffic issues should be alleviated.

In line with the sustainable living ethos of the Gardens, and as part of the Government’s Climate Action Plan, OPW encourages those for whom driving is not a necessity, to reduce the carbon intensity of their travel. The Garden’s website and social media channels will continue to encourage users to consider walking or cycling to the Gardens and to provide details on bus numbers and routes as alternatives.