Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) is considering parking options that will improve the turnover of parking spaces while providing visitors and customers with enough time to visit the Toowoomba CBD.
The Infrastructure Committee has made the following recommendations, that Council:
1. Retain the one-hour parking in Margaret Street between Ruthven and Victoria Streets and Ruthven Street between Herries Street and Chalk Drive permanently;
2. Implement weekly parking permits for Council’s off-street car parks;
3. Continue to promote the availability of three-hour parking at Central Car Park and various on-street locations around the CBD;
4. Implement a discount period at Central Carpark over the Christmas/New Year period at $1 per hour up to a maximum of three hours; and
5. Further investigate options in the northern end of Ruthven Street for paid three-hour parking.
“Improving parking in the CBD is quite a complex issue but one which we have invested a lot of time in to,” TRC Infrastructure Committee portfolio leader Cr James O’Shea said.
“We began a one-hour parking trial on 5 August and I would like to thank everyone who has provided feedback.
“Council’s Stakeholder Engagement team conducted over 90 face-to-face meetings with CBD businesses. Overall the general sentiment about the trial was that they have noticed an increase in available parking spaces and that customers had found it much easier to secure a park.
“While we believe the trial has been effective in discouraging people that aren’t customers from parking in the free parking spaces and has provided an increase of parking availability for visitors and customers alike, it’s also clear that other nearby off-street parking options need to be promoted.
“This has prompted the recommendation to introduce weekly parking permits for off-street car parks to encourage workers to park in these facilities rather than on-street, increasing the availability of spaces for shoppers and visitors.”
The recommendation will see the introduction of a new weekly prepaid parking fee for Station Street, Herries/Water Street, Julia Street, Annand Street, Clifford Street and Chalk Drive off-street car parks.
Station Street and Herries/Water Street weekly permits will have the incentive of discounted rates, with motorists having to only pay for four days to receive a seven-day pass.
“This step provides customers with further flexibility and it takes away the stress of needing to pay daily,” Cr O’Shea said.
“We also hope by introducing a discounted rate at two of our car parks it will encourage an increase in usage of currently underutilised parking bays.”
Also, Council is proposing to introduce a discount period at Central Car Park over the Christmas/New Year period at $3 for three hours with a beginning date to be determined, pending updates to pay machines to cater for the changed rates.
“This car park remains grossly underutilised with figures showing on average an occupancy rate of 50 per cent,” Cr O’Shea said.
“We understand for some shoppers one hour isn’t long enough, therefore we encourage businesses to suggest to their customers that they utilise Central Car Park.
“Also, it’s been recommended that Council looks into possible options of increasing the number of three-hour parking bays in the northern end of Ruthven Street (between Russell Street and Chalk Drive).
“We believe the recommendations being proposed will further improve the overall parking throughout the Toowoomba CBD.”
The recommendations will now go to the Ordinary Meeting of Council on 19 November for endorsement.