All-day parkers could soon be banished from one side of Downpatrick Street in Rathfriland.
It comes as the Department of Infrastructure has proposed the introduction of waiting restrictions on one side of the busy commercial and residential street.
Councillors at Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council were made aware of the proposal at their monthly meeting.
The announcement comes two months after one shop owner highlighted in this paper that business owners and their employees are parking along the street instead of using the town’s free car parks.
He said this “thoughtless parking” was driving customers away from this side of town.
“The street is just lined with their cars leaving no room for customers. Some will even take the chance and park on Main Street. Then we wonder where all the customers are, they don’t have anywhere to park so just drive on.
“I counted 13 cars driven by owners and workers parking all day on Downpatrick Street, they are depriving themselves of valuable trade. I would certainly support restrictions on Downpatrick Street, it’s needed to stop this all-day parking and will free up congestion and get shoppers back in the local shops who need the trade,” the trader said.
The department is hopeful the introduction of these waiting restrictions will help the town centre trade.
“The aim is to stop all-day parking by introducing restrictions that allow parking for up to a maximum of two hours with no return within one hour and follows on from requests by local elected representatives. This will increase the turnover of spaces and increase accessibility and availability of convenient town centre parking,” said a department spokesperson.
They are proposing a maximum stay of two hours, with no return within one hour, Monday to Saturday between the hours of 8.30am and 6.15pm on the side of Downpatrick Street that meets with Caddell’s Lane to the junction of Main Street.
These proposed waiting restrictions are the same as what is currently on Main Street. They were introduced back in April 2012 and mean that you can park in the restricted zone for two hours but then must move the vehicle out of the zone. You then cannot return to park within that restricted area within one hour.
A Department of Infrastructure spokesperson said that the public will be able to air their views on the proposals.
“The public will be able to comment on the proposal when advertised in the local papers as part of the statutory process which typically takes around six months to complete subject to its successful outcome,” said a Department spokesperson.
Currently in Rathfriland the north side of Main Street, south side of Caddell’s Lane and the northern area of the Square (between Market House and Main Street) are subject to similar parking restrictions.
There is also a length of no waiting at any time along the north side of Caddell’s Lane. The two sides of Church Square are also subject to parking restrictions of one hour.