Photos courtesy of Aiza Saeed Akhtar
The Age Friendly parking spaces rolled out in Galway City will not be policed, it has emerged.
Instead members of the public will be trusted to use their own judgement.
The new parking spaces are located at Westside and Ballybane Libraries and Westside Resource Centre.
This national initiative, backed by the World Health Organization, was put forward by Galway City Council on 31 January to support and improve older people’s living in Galway City by facilitating their access to places.
The parking spaces are generally available for people over the age of 65 and have been placed near the entries and exits of the buildings to shorten the distance of their path and make it safer.
Galway Central Councillor Eddie Hoare said that the users of these spaces won’t have any badge or card to hold but that the public will “use their own initiative and know who these places are available for”.
“For disabled parking spaces you would have a specific badge but, for Age Friendly parking spaces you wouldn’t require a badge. It would be down to the public to know that it’s reserved for elderly people. And for people that have less mobility issues or aren’t of that age, that they leave these spaces available. There will be no policing of this effectively,” he said.
Galway City Council Architect Ann Marie Cusack said that the goal of this initiative is also to raise awareness of older people’s mobility and to promote confidence going out.
“It just gives them a surety that when they get there, that they will be nearby. And they will feel more confident going out and about. I think particularly because we’re coming out of all the COVID restrictions. This is a really good time to start and promote this initiative. I think the more Age Friendly parking spaces that we can provide, the more confident people will hopefully feel as well when they leave their home. That is what we hope for,” she said.
At the moment, no fines are given to those who park in Age Friendly parking spaces. Ms Cusack said that it’s an act of kindness and courtesy, consideration for other road users to leave out those spaces for elder people.
“And I suppose our communities with a population, over time they’re going into a situation where we’re going to have more and more older persons. Before, we had a very young kind of population, but that whole situation is going to change going for the next decade. So just to be ahead, it’s just a kindness for people not to park in those spaces and I think most people are very courteous. I know there’s always issues with parking but I think people will consider it,” she said.
Galway City Council hopes for Age Friendly parking spaces to roll out in other areas of the city. Architect Ann Marie Cusack welcomes any suggestions or ideas from the public to better improve older people’s mobility.
You can contact her at email@example.com.
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