A raft of measures aimed at improving car parking in and around Kirkcaldy town centre are set to be taken forward over the coming months.
Councillors meeting on Tuesday are expected to approve plans to proceed with a six-month trial which will see a new £2 per day charge introduced in the Thistle Street multi-storey car park to encourage longer dwell times.
Cut-price season tickets will also be continued for 2022/23, while a proposal to provide free parking at both Coal Wynd car parks is likely to be supported – although funding to pay for that still needs to be identified.
Members of Kirkcaldy area committee will also be asked to back plans for some sort of barrier to be created at the entrance to the High Street pedestrian zone to stop motorists from using it as a thoroughfare – something seen as a huge problem for pedestrian safety at the moment.
Study on multi-storey car parks ongoing
And a further report on closing a section of High Street between Kirk Wynd and Tolbooth Street, effectively sending vehicles down Tolbooth Street, is similarly being produced and is expected to go before councillors in March.
The possible solutions to improve car parking provision have come forward following concern about the situation in the town centre area, with a feasibility study on the long-term future of the town’s two unsightly multi-storey car parks – the Esplanade and the Thistle – said to be ongoing.
A report on the outcome of that is not expected to be published until late 2022/early 2023, so councillors are being asked to pursue these options in the meantime.
Ken Gourlay, head of assets, transportation and environment at Fife Council, says the local authority is seeking to align parking provision in the town with public expectations – all the while maintaining a balanced budget.
He said: “A number of initiatives have taken place in Kirkcaldy over the recent past to help generate additional town centre footfall.
“These have included discounted rates for parking, improvements to the multi-storey car parks and discounted season tickets to help support town centre workers.
“Well managed parking aims to maximise access to shops, businesses and town centres.”
Parking charges are a key tool in maximising the turnover of spaces to allow access for shoppers and businesses”
Free parking across the board has been ruled out, although Mr Gourlay pointed out that of Kirkcaldy’s near-2,000 off-street car parking spaces, 36% are already provided free of charge.
He added: “Parking charges are a key tool in maximising the turnover of spaces to allow access for shoppers and businesses whilst also encouraging sustainable travel as an attractive choice and providing an income to enable service delivery.”
Trialling a £2 per day tariff within the Thistle multi-storey car park is expected to cost the council about £7,000 over the six-month period, and that is likely to come into force in either April or May.
Reduced season ticket remains until March 2023
The lower £1.10 tariff will remain in place for those who wish to park for less than two hours.
The reduced season ticket price will remain until the end of March 2023, with a quarterly season ticket costing £60 per quarter instead of £130, while making the car parks off Coal Wynd free may well be supported on Tuesday.
However, councillors will hear that money needs to be found from somewhere before that latter measure can happen – with estimates placing the financial impact of doing so between £37,000 a year and £130,000 a year.