UCD await planning approval for new car park

The University Observer has learned that an application by UCD to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council for extra parking to be provided for students and staff is currently under review.The facility, if approval is received, will provide 583 car spaces, 617 bicycle spaces and 81 motorcycle spaces, as well as changing rooms, lockers, retail spaces, a bus shelter, an underground walkway, solar panels and staff areas.Plans are in place for the parking facility to be located between the new student centre and the water tower. However, it is the understanding of The University Observer that there are doubts surrounding the application on the basis that the building of this structure will mean the university is required to give up some of its green space.It is believed that the construction of the car park will also mean the takeover of five tennis courts.Additionally, it is thought that the council requires that ten per cent of car parking spaces in UCD should have recharge facilities for electric vehicles by 2020. This policy would be in line with government objectives for ten per cent of Irish vehicles to be run on electricity by 2020 and therefore, lowering Ireland’s sizeable carbon emissions.Concerns were expressed by the council over the increase of traffic in the Clonskeagh region and the lack of incentives for sustainable travel, in contrast with a similar scheme in the UK.UCD bus services to and from many areas of Dublin, particularly on the north side, are leaving students with no choice but to drive to college.Car parking has long been an issue in UCD as it is often used by people who are not UCD students, staff or visitors as a park and ride facility. An increase in students driving has also led to a severe shortage of car parking spaces.A spokesperson for the university stated in relation to the matter: “The planning permission for a commuting facility which included bus facilities, secure bicycle parking, shower and changing facilities for cyclists, motor bike parking, and car parking, has not been rejected. However, additional information has been requested from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. A response to this request is currently being prepared and will be submitted shortly.”