The Green councillors on Fingal County Council have a made a submission to the consultation on Sustainable and Compact Settlements Guidelines run by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
Our submission focusses on car parking issues, pointing to good policies adopted in the Fingal Development Plan 2023-2029.
Two aspects of the Fingal Plan are worth copying. First we advocate that minimum parking standards should be abolished from the planning system. The Fingal Plan does this for areas near public transport (which are effectively the entire developed area of Fingal.)
This is not abolishing parking entirely, it is that the planners will no longer require developers to provide more car parking than they want to, i.e. than they think the market is looking for. Our recommendations as regards car parking are informed by the work of planners like Donald Shoup and campaigns such as the Parking Reform Network. We are very conscious that minimum parking requirements have two significant negative effects. Minimum parking requirements reduce housing affordability, and it has been found again and again that removing the parking requirements enables the building of more housing. The cost minimum parking requirements imposes on housing becomes a subsidy which builds in an incentive to car use, contrary to our climate, health and quality of life goals for transport.
Secondly, we recommend that urban areas be designed primarily for walking, cycling and public transport, and that car parking be clustered rather than spread through out residential or mixed use areas as is often the case. We point to the provision of the Fingal plan providing for car-free neighbourhoods as a good example to be followed nationally. These recommendations are informed by positive experiences in pedestrianising existing areas and by the development of new car-free neighbourhoods in cities and towns across Europe and the world.