Newspaper and other reports

http://connachttribune.ie/gaa-boss-warns-fans-pearse-stadium-parking/  Connacht Tribune interview in which GAA CEO states gardaí do not have the resources to p0lice parking.

And here are on comments on this interview:

We wish to respond to the news article in last week’s City Tribune titled “GAA boss warns
fans on Pearse Stadium parking.” Galway GAA Secretary and CEO, Mr. Hynes, will get no argument from local residents when he says that a culture change is needed amongst supporters in relation to car parking at Pearse Stadium. We fully endorse his statement that the behaviour of some supporters is “inexcusable” and that it is the GAA’s responsibility to provide adequate parking spaces for people attending games. He is
correct when he says that it does cause inconvenience to the neighbours, whenever there are games here. He is correct when he says “They shouldn’t block residents in their homes or wheels up on footpath preventing wheelchairs and buggies from passing.” The lack of a visible garda presence at many games supports his assertion that the Gardaí lack the resources to cover these events properly as does the dearth of parking tickets issued for illegal parking.

However, beyond those comments there seems little else that we agree on. Perhaps the culture change needs to start with those in positions of authority within the GAA so that an example is given for their supporters to follow. It would be economical with the truth if one said that the development of Pearse Stadium in 1994 was granted with a stipulation that 500 parking spaces were required, and then said no more. To be clear the requirement of 541/94 was 500 at the Prairie and 1,500 at Colaiste Einde. There were also several other requirements that were never complied with.

On March 13th, 2001, J. Tansey Executive Engineer Roads send a letter To Mr. J.Roache, Senior Executive Planner confirming that he deemed that the above was complied with by instead having 500 at the Prairie, 1,100 at Colaiste Einde and 1,500 at St. Mary’s College. He also noted that the use of any additional facilities or schemes may require planning permission.

The GAA’s latest fantasy parking plan for activities at Pearse Stadium is in part response to Galway City Council’s planning office request for clarification on a number of important points in relation to planning application reference 13/97 for flood lights, in part an effort to have an enforcement order lifted. The current enforcement order that is causing them some difficulty was the first time in nearly 20 years that the City Council in any way formally accepted that the availability of 500 spaces at the Prairie was a lie.

The GAA’s overall response fails to deal adequately with several questions asked by, and
effectively gives the two fingers to the City Council, by refusing to provide answers to questions asked.

For example, the Council requested details of access and egress lighting. To simply reply that this could be dealt with in a separate planning application is not acceptable. For proper consideration all pertinent details should be available for consideration, not left to be possibly tagged on as an afterthought some time later.

The City Council requested an “at capacity” attendance assessment and an event management plan for such an event. Again they effectively give the two fingers to the City Council and refused to provide what was requested. Their response on this request can be summarised as since we don’t expect such an attendance we do not need to provide such a plan. And then in a totally illogical twist they say that if it did happen that they suddenly expected a large attendance they would switch it to daytime to maximise their financial return. They ignore the fact that everything needed in a plan at night would also be required for a plan for daytime activity apart from lights.

Over the years they have produced many so called parking and traffic management planes, and each in turn has fallen apart under scrutiny. Strangely each new plan coincided with an attempt to get a planning permission. Their latest claim to have arrangements in place for 4,497 parking spaces again fails to pass close examination.

Proper planning requirements vastly exceed what they are now claiming as available, not to mind the much lower number that would be available in reality. Taking a standard occupancy of 1.6 per car and a stadium with a capacity of 32,000 would yield an off street parking requirement for 20,000 parking spaces to be available to match patrons after any other packing required for background activities such as for local residents or existing users of proposed parking sites. This is nearly four and a half times greater than they now claim to have available.

But things get worse. The 4,497 claimed spaces reduces to 2,898 hard surface spaces when you take out those on grass like school football pitches which will not be available in wet weather. Of the remaining hardstand places they claim to have agreement in place for 200 spaces at South Park. But an email dated March 19, 2014 from Stephen Walsh in his capacity as Senior Executive Parks Superintendent to the GAA makes it clear that this is not a long term option as it is earmarked for development of local amenities when funding is available. He wrote “As discussed Galway City Council cannot provide a blanket agreement for the use of the Hard Stand at South Park for the purpose of providing car parking for Pearse Stadium. At this particular site there is also a very real potential danger of accidentally driving into sea.

Both Colaiste Einde and St. Mary’s college have other groups using their facilities and these are hardly going to be kicked out to make way for patrons of Pearse Stadium. The bridge players, the the acting schools and other permit holders would not be too happy about that. In the case of St. Mary’s the 30 bed extension to the nursing home (also reported reported in last week’s City Tribune) will further reduce the number of hard stand places there. It is noteworthy that no parking is allowed on any GAA pitches in case they are damaged but they have no qualms about asking the schools to put their pitches at risk.

Likewise the spaces at O’Higgins in Shantalla will all disappear if they eventually get  planning application for the Tesco shopping centre; and Mr. O Higgin’s is on public record that he believes it is only a matter of a few tweaks in a new application and time before he gets an approval. And there are already restrictions as to when it might be available as is.

Arus Bothar na Trá is an interesting case. They previously claimed 100 spaces here, (now they claim 142 in the same space). This ignores the fact that activities at the Arus (as with the other locations) generate their own parking requirements. But if 100% of spaces are allocated to activity in the Pearse Stadium that means zero percent is available for activities in the Arus. Are they now saying that activities will cease in the Arus  (and other locations) whenever there is a game planned for Pearse Stadium? If this logic makes sense during night time games would the same not apply during day time? Have they told the club’s members? The parking plan for Arus Bothar na Trá includes spaces which we previously highlighted as appearing to be meant as emergency exits from Pearse Stadium. If this is the case then blocking of these exits can not be allowed. Where is their emergency evacuation plan?

With facilities that include Squash Courts, an internal and external Handball Alley, as well as a Function Hall and Bar there is plenty of competition from existing activities for the available parking spaces at Castlegar Hurling Club.

In Mervue they claim 222 broken up as 140 Church car park spaces and 82 spaces between two separate schools. But these will clash with Mass goers, funerals and other parish activities.

At The Trappers Inn competition for the spaces would be from patrons of the Trapper’s bar and restaurant.

Their previous claim for 800 spaces at GMIT has been reduced to 400. In fact the new consent letter says for up to circa 400 spaces on terms agreed between GMIT and GAA but does not specify what these terms are. So we do not know what restrictions might apply. We do not know whether the reduction from 800 to 400 was due to a change of mind by GMIT or if the 800 was a misrepresentation of the situation by the GAA.

Several of the sites have very restricted entrances/exits with just enough room for a single car to get through at a time. Most of them are too far away with no adequate explanation of how patrons get between them and Pearse Stadium even if they found them in the first place. There are no contractual arrangements to ensure they remain available. There are no details of how or by whom they would be managed. Do patrons pay for them or are they free? They are not without constraints such as subject to weather, or must be requested on a case by case basis to check for availability, or may not be used at certain times of the week. There is no account taken of competition for spaces from existing users. They lack lighting which would be required for nighttime use. Some like South Park are waiting on funds to develop local amenities on them, and it is too easy for someone to drive into the sea on a dark wet winters night. Others like St. Mary’s College and Higgin’s in Shantalla are the subjects of current planning applications, and there is no guarantee that the owners of any of these sites will not want to develop them further for their own purposes in the future. Do the public liability insurance contracts of the various locations allow them to be used for this purpose? Will their premiums increase?

While they would hope to get a planning permission that would be permanent, it would be logical then that only facilities that they can show to be available on a likewise permanent basis would be given any consideration. It would be illogical to consider car parking facilities that did not come with some guarantee of being available for the long term. The absence of contracts and likelihood of further development by site owners for their own purposes goes against this.

All but the closest locations would be worthless as car parks without an effective Park and Ride system. A successful Park and Ride plan has yet to be demonstrated in the context of Pearse Stadium. Saying it is so does not make it so, no matter how much you might want it to be. On 18th September 2013, Galway Independent report on axing of park and ride at the Airport revealed that after four months in daily operation only 20 people per day were using it.

The proliferation of proposed locations for sites would require a corresponding increase in Garda resources (manpower, transport and and budgets) and there is no guarantee that these can be available, particularly as Mr. Hynes says they do not have the resources to do the job properly as things stand.

Parking is only one of many issues the residents around Pearse Stadium have concerns about but space will not allow us go into detail here. For those interested there is plenty of material in the City Council planning files.

 

 

http://www.irishexaminer.com/sport/gaa/galway-bid-to-defuse-parking-row-135947.html

http://www.hoganstand.com/Galway/Parking tickets at Pearse Stadium

http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2056077602

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Extract from email received

Gentlemen,

Thanks for the photos. And well done to all concerned in persuading the Gardai to continue with their new policy of upholding traffic and parking law, around Pearse Stadium at least.

The bleating from the bewildered motorists was so heart-rending that even the national media took notice. My interpretation is that the issuing of parking fines for everyday lawbreaking, such as the obstruction of footpaths, is so rare that it comes as a real shock when it happens on any appreciable scale. The horror, the horror…

Here’s a flavour of the whinging and consternation, though to be fair there are more than a few other commentators with enough cop-on to know when parking tickets are being fairly dished out.

Note the utter incredulity and puzzlement of some commentators. They clearly have no clue whatsoever regarding what constitutes illegal parking, and I bet that if you showed them every one of your photos they would still not see the light.

Was there much mystified and aggrieved weeping and gnashing on GBFM?

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