HOPES that a park and ride car park could be constructed in Bangor to ease parking problems at local rail halts have been dashed.
Translink has told Ards and North Down Council it does not have the money to create a park and ride facility at the Bangor Sportsplex which was viewed by local councillors as essential to easing ongoing parking congestion problems.
However, councillors on the council’s Environment Committee, while disappointed at the decision, have agreed to continue dialogue with Translink and the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) in a bid to identify other options for easing rail halt problems.
Councillor David Rossiter proposed the council continue to engage with Translink and DfI to find other solutions to free up congestion around the homes of people who live near train halts.
“We should not put a full stop on it at this moment but should continue the conversation and try to find some resources further down the line,” he said.
Councillor Hannah Irwin highlighted parking issues particularly around Bangor West and Carnalea. “I know there are a lot of issues with commuters parking in streets around residents’ homes and it causes congestion,” she continued. “The council along with other stakeholders should explore other options and not just draw a line under this to make sure we can find a solution for our residents.”
The use of public transport, Ms Irwin said, should be encouraged and this was one way to make travelling ‘as easy as possible’.
Councillor Craig Blaney said there are congestion issues at every rail halt from Bangor Central, through to Bangor West and on to Holywood.
“Any sort of park and ride system would alleviate parking issues in Bangor central and other areas as well,” he said. “With infrastructure work that is happening in the centre of Bangor and what is being planned there, any ability to take those parkers out of the city centre and move them into areas designed for park and ride would be much appreciated”.
Councillor Alistair Cathcart said Translink should be engaging with the council about land zoning as part of the local development plan.
“The land isn’t there in Bangor for a park and ride at the moment, but we should look at potential zoning to ensure we have the proper infrastructure going forward,” he said. “The popularity of park and ride is only going to increase”.