05/06/2007 - 22:00

Periphery parking a central issue for city

05/06/2007 - 22:00

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The shortage of parking bays in Perth may worsen before it improves if plans by the City of Perth to demolish its 490-bay Elder Street car park go ahead this year.

Periphery parking a central issue for city

The shortage of parking bays in Perth may worsen before it improves if plans by the City of Perth to demolish its 490-bay Elder Street car park go ahead this year.

Council intends to double the capacity of the two-storey car park, next to the Hotel Grand Chancellor, providing a total of 1,000 new bays on the site.

While the redevelopment of the Elder Street car park has been planned for more than six months, the city has approached the initiative with greater urgency in recent weeks following a parking forum at which property, government and business representatives recommended a strategic boost to facilities.

In the meantime, to help meet the shortfall, it has applied to the East Perth Redevelopment Authority to have 300 temporary bays created on council-owned land in front of the Entertainment Centre on Wellington Street.

Perth deputy mayor Michael Sutherland said council had to be very careful where it placed new car parks because of the risk of creating more traffic congestion during peak periods.

“It’s a huge problem. If we don’t create shopper car parks the retailers will be in uproar, and when we do create more bays in the city it means more traffic congestion,” Cr Sutherland said.

To avoid creating more harm than good, council is looking to place more car parks on the periphery of the CBD and will encourage city visitors to take CAT buses or walk the rest of the journey, he said.

The Property Council of Western Australia estimates the CBD workforce has increased by 10 per cent since 2003, translating to 10,000 more people, and has forecast another 10 per cent rise over the next five years.

Since 2003, the population boost has also coincided with a reduction in car parking facilities, the greatest single removal being the 615-bay Entertainment Centre car park late last year.

Given the predicted growth in Perth’s workforce, council has identified a further four sites in the CBD and one on the corner of Fitzgerald and Roe streets in Northbridge for redevelopment into major car parks, in addition to Elder Street.

Its largest single prospect is the 5,000 square metre Fire Station car park site between Murray and Hay streets, where council is understood to be considering a mixed-use commercial office and retail complex, with a significant number of car bays below.

More commercial opportunities exist on its 2,529sq m gas works and garage car park sites at 337-353 Wellington Street, and adjoining 10-storey Pier Street car park with 3,325sq m of space.

Cr Sutherland said the city expected to receive a report detailing development options for the three adjoining sites in two weeks’ time, which if combined could yield more than 1,300 bays.

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