By Luke Voogt
Increased parking pressure in Geelong’s CBD is forcing City Hall to undertake a comprehensive review to meet future demand.
Several new high-rise developments would likely put further pressure on parking, a recent City Hall statement said.
CBD trader and former mayor Hayden Spurling urged the City to add levels to its existing car parks.
Mr Spurling said there had been no major parking developments since he had been mayor in 1987.
“The real problem is since amalgamation there hasn’t been any addition to off-street car parking in any major sense.
“I can’t think anywhere the city has bought land for parking since.”
Mr Spurling called on City Hall to “deck” its Haymarket car park and parking sites on Little Ryrie Street and opposite Officeworks.
He added the City would most likely need to go underground at Haymarket car park due to the nearby St Mary’s Basilica.
“There needs to be a development with that site. Although going underground is quite expensive.”
Mr Spurling said while demand for parking had increased, the strict policing of meters was discouraging some shoppers.
“Today it’s bang and you’re gone,” he said.
“People wanting to do business in the CBD are being discriminated against. It’s not only the shoppers but the businesses themselves.”
In the last six months of 2016 the City collected $6.4 million in parking fines.
Mr Spurling urged the City to put more of that money into new parking rather relying on it “to enhance its bottom line”.
“Where is that money going?” he said. “Back to general revenue.”
Mr Spurling said a number of new developments in Geelong did not fully account for the parking demand they would cause.
“If we’re trying to get more residents or businesses into the CBD, we must provide for them,” he said.
“Certainly, most developers seek to have their car parking requirements reduced so they can put in more apartments and offices.”
The new Worksafe headquarters will have three levels of parking for its 700-plus employees while the NDIA headquarters will have 166 car parks for its 450 staff.
A planned residential development on Cavendish Street, Miramar Geelong, will have two parks for each three-bedroom apartment and one for every two-bedroom apartment.
In a recent statement the City’s Brett Luxdord promoted the Park and Ride bus service, which he said was operating at under capacity.
Mr Luxford said students returning to Deakin University would add pressure to CBD parking and that the City was examining an additional Park and Ride location for students.
The City’s comprehensive car parking strategy would look at options such as off-street parking, Mr Luxford said.