CBD Parking Woes: Business Owners and Citizens Demand Car-Friendly Changes

CBD Parking Woes: Business Owners and Citizens Demand Car-Friendly Changes

Robin Smith, owner of Coffee Republic, expressed frustration over parking in the Central Business District (CBD), identifying it as customers’ top issue. “Along with toilets, it’s their number one concern,” he shared.  

When asked if his business would improve if parking were made more accessible or free, Smith didn’t hesitate, “Absolutely. It’s the most basic need that people have in getting here.” 

When discussing whether the city provides adequate parking, Smith was clear, “No, there isn’t enough.”  

As for changes since he began operations, Smith was appreciative of one particular improvement, “The use of the app system for payment is probably the best improvement the Council has done.” However, his experiences weren’t all positive, “The disappointing thing is the Council’s aim to minimize the number of long-term parking spaces. That’s a disappointment.” 

Smith expressed concern over urban planning trends, “It’s disappointing that in commercial development planning, it feels almost anti-car and anti-business, particularly for those who rely on private transport.” 

Smith didn’t mince words when suggesting what the Council could do to improve the situation. “Private cars are not the enemy. They bring valuable customers who are irreplaceable. Let’s not create policies that dissuade them. When the Council writes a plan, it needs to take into account the needs of car-users.” 

Discussing traffic management, Smith criticized plans to reduce the number of lanes in busy areas, “The Council plans to ‘choke’ traffic, for example, by reducing two-lane roads to one. It’s a move to discourage the use of private transport.” 

When asked if he had any further thoughts, Smith reiterated, “On-street parking isn’t the enemy.” 

A local shopper shared a common concern, “One of the issues of going into the CBD is the added stress of your parking time running out. You don’t enjoy shopping as much because you’re watching the time.” 

Sharon, an aboriginal Elder, expressed similar frustrations, “We pay taxes. We pay rates. There’s not enough handicapped parking. I have to walk from one block over just to go to the bank for the elders.” When asked if she’d visit town more often with better parking, Sharon simply said, “If there was more parking, yes.” 

Crystal and Sam, two other locals, found long-term parking to be “fairly average”. They said, “It’s a complete lack of parking. Even if you find a spot, it’s still costing you $10-$15 a day.” 

Despite these frustrations, there are helpful tips to navigate the current parking situation. Free parking is available at specific times in several car parks, including Elizabeth Street, Paterson Street West, Paterson Street East, Willis Street, Bathurst Street, Royal Park, Inveresk, York Street West, River Edge, and Cameron Street. 

If the parking situation is too daunting, consider cycling. Lockable bike cages, free for public use, are located in Paterson Street East and West Car Parks. Several free bike racks are also scattered throughout the city. 

The Tiger Bus is a viable alternative to private transport. It operates on every business day and selected weekends and public holidays.  

For those needing overnight parking, options are available for a modest fee of $2. The Paterson Street East Car Park and Paterson Street West Car Park both provide secure parking spaces. 

Despite these options, Smith’s words echo through the CBD, “Private cars are not the enemy.” As city planners and citizens grapple with the parking issue, the call for a more car-friendly CBD continues to grow. 

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