Wollongong parking meters follow up

Following the installation of parking meters in Wollongong’s CBD in March 2010, Council experienced significant backlash from the community which resulted in the review of parking rates and pricing schemes, and the placement of the meters and parking zones in conjunction with community consultation.

According to data provided by Council, and an interview with the Business Chamber president, the parking machines are now generating considerable additional revenue ($885,305 from parking tickets plus $470,000 in parking meter-related fines). Encouragingly, the number of tickets printed has risen from around 10,000 per week in March, to around 22,000 tickets by late December, indicating a greater turnover of people visiting the CBD.

The Illawarra Business Chamber president Les Dion says that feedback provided by businesses indicates that their customers are able to find parking spaces faster. This is in contrast to their initial fears that the installation of meters would damage business, turning people away from the CBD.

A spokesperson from Council said that the revenue from the parking meters does not go to general income, but instead is reserved for capital improvements to CBD parking and transport infrastructure. The first project is a public car park on the corner of Keira and Ellen streets, planned to open in February 2011.

Despite the initial teething problems, the results from the introduction of paid parking seem to be positive for the community; both in terms of optimising parking availability, business performance, and community projects as a result of the additional revenue.

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