Plan to shake-up parking in Kirkcaldy town centre as barrier planned for High Street

A raft of measures to improve car parking in and around Kirkcaldy town centre are set to be taken forward over the coming months.

By Craig Smith
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 11:44 am
The parking shake-up is among the measures going before the Kirkcaldy Area Committee.
The parking shake-up is among the measures going before the Kirkcaldy Area Committee.

Local 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 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 a barrier at the entrance to the High Street pedestrian zone to stop motorists from using it as a thoroughfare.

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And a further report on closing a section of the 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 the options above in the meantime.

Free parking across the board has been ruled out, although Ken Gourlay, head of assets, transportation and environment at Fife Council, said 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 around £7,000 over the six-month period, likely to come into force in either April or May.

The lower £1.10 tariff will remain 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.

Meanwhile, further work is to be done on introducing a permanent control facility at the west end of the High Street’s pedestrianised zone.

All vehicles – except those displaying a blue badge, or commercial vehicles servicing businesses – are prohibited from entering and parking in the pedestrian zone between 11am and 5pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, but there are still concerns people are flouting the regulations.

An automatic rising bollard system is being looked into at a cost of up to £40,000, with a report on that due to go before Kirkcaldy area committee in March.