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Lack of street parking leaves many city dwellers eager to ‘get out’

Many small businesses and delivery drivers say they are fed up with the removal of on-street parking, arguing that it is less attractive to come to town.

In addition to the concerns typically raised around Exhibition Street parking, frustrated Collins Street merchants say they have been further confused by the additional loss of on-street parking.

While many of their customers could often find street parking on Little Collins St and Flinders Lane, this is no longer the case due to planters, barriers for extended outdoor dining and lack of signage permanently in place.

You Day Spa owner Helen Cacopardo said she and many other business owners were “unhappy” with what had happened in the city around the parking lot over the past 12 months.

“I had a client [who] went to three different parking complexes and they were all full because there was no street parking, and she had to cancel the appointment,” Ms. Cacopardo said.

“Not everyone can take public transport and sometimes it’s not practical for people to take public transport or cycle because they may be coming from Carlton and then wanting to go to South Yarra or Dandenong .”

“If you want people to do business in the city, you have to make it easy for them. If they can find an hour’s parking space on the street, they can come in and see me, then they can walk past a store or a cafe. All of this creates business.

Another small business owner, who wished to remain anonymous, also spoke to CBD News about the negative impacts lack of parking has had on her business, recalling four specific incidents where parking kept customers from returning.

“When you’re a small business, you hear it on the ground from your customers, but when someone’s running a big store, they don’t really know what’s going on,” the owner said. company.

“I had a client who had foot surgery and was walking around with a [knee scooter] and she came with her husband for a nice shop and for lunch, but they couldn’t have a park. She said she would never come back [to the city] and I haven’t seen her since.

The business owner has also noticed the difficulty for her delivery drivers who have to drive back and forth until they can find parking.

Flinders Lane has been a pain point for many delivery drivers, with one driver, who was ‘lucky’ to grab the only open space to open the back of his lorry, saying getting the space meant his “challenge was done for the day”.

“If you’re not lucky enough, you have to park lower in prohibited areas, and I don’t come to work to be fined,” the driver said.

“When I work in the city, I look forward to going out.”

Sightings of delivery trucks entering and exiting restricted areas is a common occurrence in many alleys and streets surrounding Collins St and Spring St, which often have nowhere to go.

In response to the growing hardship for transport workers, Transport Workers Union Victoria Secretary Mike McNess said: “Transport workers must be considered in all road-related decisions made by councils and government in the whole state.”

“Limited access for transport workers was initially most visible in the city of Melbourne, but it is now becoming a statewide trend.”

“Workers who serve businesses and the community by road must be able to do so safely and efficiently.”

Mr McNess added that well-located loading bays and express bus lanes were both solutions to this problem, and consultations were underway to address the city’s infrastructure.

In the City of Melbourne’s 2030 Transport Strategy, it was noted that a significant proportion of curbside space was dedicated to on-street parking and over the past 15 years the supply in the city was reduced by 22%.

The report also pointed out that due to the “small number of people” using on-street parking, the space could be better used to accommodate deliveries, service vehicles, pickups and drop-offs, public space , wider trails and bike paths. .

Although many townspeople reported that parking had been removed, the council also told CBD News that there had been an increase of just under 100 ‘parking spaces’ since 2019 in Collins St, Flinders Lane , Little Collins St, Bourke St, Russell St and Howitt Lane.

These spaces included free, take-out, short-term, metered, disabled and permit parking, loading and construction areas, as well as parking for buses, motorcycles, carpools and taxis.

The council’s transport strategy also says there is little evidence that parking is essential for retail performance, but small businesses along Collins St are chastising the statement, saying the council has failed them. never once consulted for their opinion on the issue of removing on-street parking and how it affected them. •

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