A number of ratepayers see so-called “free” parking as a silver bullet panacea for periodic downturns in retail CBD trading.
First of all what is “free” parking?
Is it uninhibited no-customer-cost parking at a satellite shopping complex where, through shop tenants’ rents, customers are able to leave the family jalopy in a marked bay sometimes a hundred metres from their specific shopping destinations, often after driving a costly extra three kilometres for the privilege of doing so?
Or is it meterless, but time constrained, CBD parking the rigid supervision of which is financed by unpopular overstay fines with no projected revenue stream for further parking land acquisition and development – the latter presumably expected to be general-funded by the likes of other citizens such as Dookie farmers, or worse still, Mooroopna or Tatura traders effectively subsidising their competition?
Don’t, for goodness sake, complain about time limits – they’re there to promote vehicle turn-over to help the vibrancy of the shopping precinct.
Admittedly I have more time at my disposal and rarely feed a meter, having no difficulty in finding “free” medium-term parking north, south, east and west of our CBD but, horrors of horrors, I have to walk for between three to five minutes each time. We understand the plight of folk who can’t do that but what is $1.20 per hour (two good sips of a cappuccino) for prime Shepparton parking compared with up to $50 off-street for three hours in Melbourne’s CBD?
You won’t get this proposition with an insipid, seat-warming, populist-pandering council but what’s needed is a gutsy decision to raise the premium rate to a miserable $2 per hour (couple of coffee gulps) with the increase servicing loan funds to put a first storey on the Rowe St car park with other similar projects to follow.
Too progressively revolutionary do you think?
Yours sincerely, John Gray
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