Sunday 21 January 2018

Parking 'could cost up to €7 an hour' near children's hospital site

Dr James M Sheehan
Dr James M Sheehan

Clodagh Sheehy

Car park charges of between €5 and €7 an hour would be needed around the proposed new Children’s Hospital to manage the demand for spaces, a traffic expert has claimed.

The claim comes as Dr James Sheehan, the man responsible for the development of the Blackrock Clinic in Dublin, has described the proposed location for the hospital as being “the worst possible site”.

Ciaran McKeon, MD of Transport Insights, said a limited number of spaces for both staff and visitors meant that the hospital would have to rely on street parking around the campus to meet its needs.

Mr McKeon was making a submission on behalf of the Jack and Jill Foundation to the An Bord Pleanala hearing for the new hospital. He said the transport strategy proposed for the hospital failed to consider end user needs, mainly patients, visitors and staff and the traffic rates had been “substantially underestimated.”

The warning came on the same day that orthopaedic surgeon and engineer Dr James Sheehan said he believes it is “absolute and utter madness for the future of our children” to build the new facility on the campus.

Dr Sheehan said the St James’s campus was overcrowded, had little potential for expansion as a “land-locked” site in a densely built-up area and it would be “catastrophic” to build there.

Dr Sheehan told the hearing he was there in a “purely private capacity” as a concerned citizen, parent and grandparent and as someone who “has spent the last 58 years in medicine”.

He was involved in the development of the Blackrock, Galway and Hermitage clinics and was “very much involved in the design and construction”.

Over the past 34 years since Blackrock was built, “parking has been the single biggest problem in terms of patient and relative’s complaints.”

Dr Sheehan admitted that parking at the clinics had been “grossly underestimated” and the site for the new Children’s Hospital was “starting with an absolutely disastrous situation, based purely on parking”.

At the Blackrock Clinic they were forced to treble the spaces and were “still underserved” with three to four parking slots per in-patient bed. In Galway, the addition of a 500-space multi-storey car park still left them with problems going into the future and at the Hermitage clinic the parking was “chaotic”.

Dr Sheehan pointed to the campus of Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, on more than 150 acres, which already had an adult hospital on site with plans for the Rotunda Maternity Hospital to move there.

Building the new hospital at Blanchardstown made more sense with room for future expansion, he said.

It also offered the opportunity for building a five-to-six-storey hospital, with patient rooms facing south-west with access to large green areas.

Unless there was allowance for expansion “you are planning for obsolescence in a very short period”, he stressed and a new hospital could be built at Blanchardstown more quickly and cheaply than at St James’s.

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