Wollongong Council amends parking meter zones again

On April 29, Wollongong City Council announced that it was changing two one-hour parking zones into 15-minute free zones.

The shop that the zones are in front of, the Nut & Deli, are thrilled with the outcome and Council has indicated that additional 15-minute free parking spaces were also likely to be rolled out near chemists, where carers and medical professionals were being charged to pick up prescriptions for patients

The introduction of on-street meters in an area that had never experienced paid parking will always be an emotive one for nearby businesses and employees and offers plenty of fodder for the local press (the Illawarra Mercury have had a field day with this particular issue).

It is important to recognise that the introduction of the meters is symptomatic of Wollongong’s growth and of the increased demand on its traffic and parking services. After following the case over the past two months, however, PCI would like to make some recommendations to other councils thinking about introducing paid on-street parking:

  • Consult with and involve the stakeholders. Ensure that the opinions and issues raided by those who will (or think they will) be affected, including businesses, employees and the public, are captured and considered in the process.
  • Do your research. Make sure that the pricing model you implement is the best fit for the area and takes into account both the feedback received from stakeholders, the experiences of other similar local councils as well as industry best-practice theory (eg Shoupian supply and demand theory).
  • Consider the operational, management and enforcement issues and ensure you have carried out a complete feasibility study of the revenues and costs involved.
  • Have a clear policy as to what will be done with any profits arising from the scheme.
  • Manage the process carefully. Ensure the rollout and consultation process is monitored and managed carefully.
  • Communicate with stakeholders throughout the process: manage the media and do not let the media manage or hijack the process.
  • Ensure you never have to make backward steps so walk before you run.
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