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Parking returns to Barrack Street

BARRACK Street traders look like getting short-term parking and loading bays back.

At Perth City Council’s 11 May meeting, Councillor Jennifer MacGill moved the maximum number of parking bays and loading zones be placed between the trees on Barrack Street.

The short-term parking bays were removed from the street as part of council’s plans to turn it into a tree-lined boulevard.

The beautification works included widening the footpaths and planting trees. Footpath widening has resulted in the loss of one traffic lane.

While traders had been asking for work to be done on their street for many years, they are crying foul at the loss of their parking.

At council’s April 27 meeting it was agreed to reinstate two loading zones on the eastern side of Barrack Street.

Traders complained of difficulties receiving deliveries and in some cases reported couriers refusing to deliver to them.

They also claimed there had been little public consultation about proposed changes although council documents appear to show otherwise.

One trader said he was showed plans that seemed to indicate parking between the trees to be planted on Barrack Street. He later found out the area marked actually represented paving between the trees.

Mrs MacGill said the ‘no standing’ regulations on Barrack Street were now being openly flaunted. She said even armoured cars servicing banks on Barrack Street were forced to break the rules.

Councillor Janet Davidson said the reinstatement of both loading zones and short-term parking was essential for the good of retailers there.

Mrs Davidson said shopkeepers were being forced to run the gauntlet to get deliveries to their shops.

She described how a shopkeeper was forced to take parcels from a courier’s van stopped at the lights on Barrack Street just to get the delivery.

Councillor Laurance Goodman said he thought it was possible to have a win-win situation – reinstating parking and loading zones while keeping the widened footpaths and trees.

“It is rare for pedestrians to walk on the alignment of trees,” Mr Goodman said. “We would be able to have the street looking good and still have parking discreetly between the trees at certain times.”

But Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass described the attempt to reinstate parking on Barrack Street as “local government at its worst”.

“Here we are like a lot of amateurs changing our minds at this late stage,” Dr Nattrass said.

Council has already completed the street upgrade from St Georges Terrace to Murray Street. So far no work has been done on the final Murray to Wellington Street leg.

Dr Nattrass accused the councillors speaking for Mrs MacGill’s motion of not speaking up when the upgrade was being planned.

He proposed council finished the upgrade and then waited to see how it affected traders. If there was significant hardship, Dr Nattrass said some parking could be put in.

He believes removing parking from Barrack Street will only benefit traders.

“In a capital city I think retailers get their trade from pedestrians,” Dr Nattrass said. “Experience says that when we do street-scape improvements, property owners do up their buildings and attract better tenants.”

Councillor Noel Semmens said he was sympathetic to the need for loading zones.

“But I’m not sympathetic to the parking bay situation,” Mr Semmens said. “In Northam and the like one expects to see parking in the street. Not in a capital city. I am concerned at the possibility of undoing much of what has been done.”

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