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Using footpaths ruled out as a solution to city's parking woes

FOOTPATH parking has been ruled out as a way of tackling Dublin city's lack of residential car spaces.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar made the decision after Dublin City Council submitted a study on a proposal to lift the legal ban on footpath parking.

While the Fine Gael TD acknowledged there were parking problems for families on narrow residential streets, he does not support changing the road traffic regulations "in the possible manner proposed".

In a letter to the council, he stated: "My concerns regarding such changes relate to their potential impact on pedestrian safety.

"Footpaths are provided for the safety of pedestrians and to segregate by kerb especially vulnerable road users from passing or parking traffic on the roadway."

He described the "mounting of footpath kerbs" by vehicles as an "inherently unsafe practice".

"It would be contrary to the interests of road safety to regulate for a change in parking law that could compromise and diminish the safety of pedestrians using a public footpath," he said.

He also said footpaths were not constructed to bear the weight of vehicles.

Mr Varadkar insisted other options were available to ease the congestion, including indenting footpaths.

The council had hired consultants Mouchel to carry out a parking study in the capital, with many residents complaining they had nowhere to put their cars.

In its report, Mouchel pointed out that parking on footpaths was illegal in Ireland under the 1997 Traffic and Parking Regulations. Figures show car ownership in the city and county rose by 41pc between 1997 and 2005, with further significant increases coming in subsequent years.