At an extraordinary Council meeting this evening, the Trinity College Dublin Students Union (TCDSU) passed a motion mandating the President and the Environment Officer to lobby for the phasing out of all vehicular parking on campus “within a reasonable timeframe”. ,
There will be exceptions made for staff and students that “require on campus parking due to disabilities and other access issues”.
The motion was proposed by SF Physical Sciences class representative Dillon Broaders and seconded by TCDSU Environment Officer Áine Hennessy.
Proposing the motion at Council, Broaders encouraged TCDSU to “Lobby the college to reduce the number of cars parked on campus to an absolute minimum”.
Deputy STEM Convernor and Education Officer-elect Bev Genockey spoke against the motion, believing that it “trivialises” and “individualises” climate change. She raised the point that staff “won’t stop driving to campus, they’ll just be parking in the city centre” and that Trinity’s carbon footprint may be reduced but that the larger problem would not be solved.
Boarders responded to this by saying that parking on campus is equivalent to “smoking indoors” and that “it’s been government policy from the start to get people to start using public transport”. He highlighted Trinity’s position in the city centre saying, “we are not in the middle of nowhere” and “we’re not UCD”.
In response, Genockey said that many of those who drive onto campus “are coming from places where there are not good public transport links”.
There were concerns raised by other students over whether on-campus residents would be permitted to drive onto campus. However, TCDSU Education Officer Megan O’Connor clarified that “no students are permitted to park on campus” and there is a “two year waiting list” for staff.
Speaking to Trinity News, Broaders expressed frustration at the current speed of Trinity’s sustainability progress, saying he “became fed up with reading the vague policies proposed by the college’s climate committees”. He believes that “Trinity has too many committees full stop”.
“I’m sure the people on these committees have many letters after their name but unfortunately not a single clear solution can be found between them in most cases,” Broaders said.
“There’s been too much rhetoric, too many aspirations, too many goals and not near enough substance,” he said.
Broaders believes that “2025 is a reasonable time to have this fully implemented”, but a timeframe is not set within the motion.
Broaders said that “there will be people who require on campus parking due to a disability and other access issues and [he] makes it very clear that this would not apply to them”.
On Tuesday, Council had to be adjourned when it failed to meet quorum.
This evening’s extraordinary meeting was called in order to handle the remaining motions on the agenda.