Kildare towns could face congestion charges

The Mayor of Kildare has slammed plans to introduce traffic bans for town centres and congestion charges as part of a new strategy to encourage the use of public transport.

The Mayor of Kildare has slammed plans to introduce traffic bans for town centres and congestion charges as part of a new strategy to encourage the use of public transport.

The National Transport Authority’s (NTA) Draft Transport Strategy 2011 – 2030, which was published last Monday February 28, also outlines plans to cut speed limits to 30km ph in some town centres, residential and school areas. An information presentation has been scheduled for this Thursday March 3 at Aras Cill Dara, Naas from 2pm to 5pm. Members of the public are invited to attend to learn more about the NTA strategy.

Mayor of Kildare, Cllr Brendan Weld said councillors had received very little information on the plans so far and he was against the idea of congestion charges.

“It’s fine for the likes of London where they have a huge underground and a major bus service. We don’t have the public transport system. It’s a non runner as far as I am concerned,” he said.

“We have businesses in these towns already under huge pressure, paying huge rates and facing massive bills. Do they want to close up our towns altogether?”

The plan covers the Greater Dublin Area including Kildare, Meath and Wicklow. It is unclear which towns would be targeted, however Naas has been identified as a key designated settlement area along with ten other towns across the area.

The NTA proposes to introduce a road use charging scheme prior to 2020.

“Following public consultation, and as part of a future implementation plan, the exact form of the charging scheme, including the structure of the charges and the area to which they are to be applied, will be decided,” it said.

The aim of the strategy is to establish policies and transport measures that will support the Greater Dublin Area in meeting its potential as a competitive, sustainable city-region.

The plan also proposes a new Leinster orbital route extending from Drogheda to the Naas/Newbridge area with links to Navan and other towns. It also deals with rail proposals such as the implementation of the DART underground project and the electrification of the Maynooth line which would allow the DART to run to the north Kildare town.

Members of the public can download the entire plan on www.2030vision.ie and make submissions by April 11. Once the consultation period is finished, a draft report will be sent to the Minister for Transport for approval.