Is paid parking the solution for Canberra?

Following our post on Wayfinding Forum in January, the parking landscape in the ACT’s Parliamentary Triangle is about to change forever, but it may not be to everyone’s liking.

In last week’s budget, Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan announced 9,000 pay-parking spaces will be introduced in Parkes, Barton, Russel and Acton from July next year. At an estimated cost of $6m, the initiative will return $73m over the next three years. In the government’s plan, one hour on-street parking will remain free but short pay parking will cost $2 an hour and previously free all day parking will now cost $11.

The National Capital Authority is providing public consultation through its website, but says paid parking in the parliamentary zone is needed because a lack of parking spots is affecting visitor numbers to Canberra’s national institutions. Meanwhile, the public service union isn’t happy about the change, initially complaining that the ongoing closures of parking spaces in the area, they view the latest developments as effectively delivering workers a $2,500 per annum pay cut. Many public servants that say they have no alternative but to drive to work will now be charged more than $50 a week for the privilege.

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has called for funds to be funnelled back into the cultural institutions affected by the change, but perhaps a concurrent goal of improving public transport options might help quell the fears of the local working population.

One thing is certain, Canberrans have enjoyed free parking for a long time and this move simply brings the capital in line with all of Australia’s other major cities.

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