Car park rethink
Monday, 26th May, 2014
By Erica Visser
Traffic restrictions at an off-street parking lot may be loosened following backlash, but a City Councillor thinks they should be removed completely.
City Council put a two-hour parking limit on Regional Art Gallery car parks in February.
It has since been met with “a number of verbal complaints and written complaints” that the car park has remained virtually empty ever since.
CBD business owners claimed that staff who had once used the car park were now using the limited parking spaces on Argent Street, formerly enjoyed by customers.
Council will now consider a proposal from its traffic committee that 20 parking spaces at the site be changed to four hour parking.
Another fifteen would still be restricted to two hours, the disabled and staff spaces would remain the same and the rest would become permit parking.
It is recommended that the permit parking fee be the same as what is paid for parking at the Town Hall Facade.
Councillor Jim Richards said that while he would be voting in favour of the recommendations, he’d prefer that all parking restrictions at the site be removed.
“I really feel for a lot of people who work in Argent Street. Could you imagine going to work at 8.30 in the morning and then asking your employer if you could leave at 10.30 to move your car?
“I think four hours is better than two hours ... but it’s not much help; two, four, or try your luck driving around.”
Clr Richards said that it was a Broken Hill “tradition” to drive around the block until a park became available right outside the business you wished to enter.
“My grandma used to take me and my mum shopping and we’d drive around and around until we found a park. It’s a local tradition.”
These days, Clr Richards prefers to park around the corner for health and social reasons.While car parking for staff was desperately needed, Clr Richards said it’s not something Council could afford.
“It’s sort of a longer term thing we have to take a view on. In the current financial situation it’s probably not something Council has millions of dollars to invest in.”
In February, CBD businesses told the BDT that the restrictions had hurt their businesses.
“Before it was well utilised with the workers, who are now parking in front of other people’s businesses,” said Town ‘n’ Country Bicycles owner Ricky Cooper.
“We take time out and we go over and have a look at the car park; there’s never been any more than four cars there.”
Macs Oven Foods owner Greg Lively and Sampson’s Shoe Store owner Peter Nash had also criticised the move.
Council will vote on the recommendations at a public meeting at 6.30pm on Wednesday evening.