Carter / Desperately seeking… parking!

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WHAT’S the quickest way to frustrate both tourists and locals alike and guarantee they avoid Floriade forever more?

Car parking!

Catherine Carter.
Catherine Carter.
While Canberra’s fabulous flower festival continues to delight, parking this year leaves much to be desired.

With the Constitution Avenue upgrade and the new shipping-container village taking up large sections of surface car parking, patrons have been seen circling the remaining car parks looking for an elusive space, with many opting to walk from Questacon or the National Library and others giving up altogether. Purchasing a parking voucher, in some cases, has taken half an hour.

The pain of car parking at Floriade this year raises important questions about our current car-parking management strategy – particularly if our most popular festival is to shift to Civic from 2017.

A recent survey of Canberrans, undertaken by Canberra CBD Limited found that “parking, parking, parking” was one of the greatest obstacles to a vibrant and dynamic CBD.

The report found inadequate parking was one of the main reasons why Canberra residents avoided Civic, and support for new activities and infrastructure in the city centre was tempered by comments such as “so long as they get the parking right”.

With our low population and wide geographic spread, car parking is an important quality-of-life issue in Canberra. While we must embrace public transport, we must also provide options for people who want to drive into our city and town centres.

The private sector has been focused on innovative solutions, such as carpooling in residential buildings and investing in new technologies – but we also need the right policies in place.

The long-term implications for our tourism industry are also significant. Each day visitors waste precious time desperately seeking a space, our city loses some of its lustre – and that’s something an ocean of flowers cannot restore.

 

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Catherine Carter
Former ACT executive director of the Property Council of Australia

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