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CBD parking overhaul under adopted strategy

CBD parking overhaul under adopted strategy

Parking in the heart of Armidale will be brought into line with other NSW regional centres, to ensure motorists can more easily find spaces in the centre business district, under a parking strategy adopted at yesterday’s Council meeting.

The Car Parking and Mobility Study, produced by consultant TPS Traffic and Parking Systems, incorporates a number of recommendations about changes to time zones for parking in the Armidale CBD and better enforcement of those time restrictions.

The study is an initiative of the Mall Vibrancy Plan, which aims to increase the level of activity in the retail heart of Armidale and strengthen the viability of local business.

“The study gives us a number of areas to explore to make best use of the parking spaces available, meet the needs of shoppers and encourage people to go into the CBD,” Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said.

“We will consider each of these options, including the appropriateness of paid parking in some areas, so residents and visitors have convenient and ready access to spaces.”

The consultant’s report said the CBD already had an adequate supply of parking, based on the proportion of spaces occupied during peak times, but better management of that supply was needed so motorists had more equitable access to parking.

It recommends Armidale Regional Council adjust its time zone durations to reflect controls in other regional CDBs of a similar size, including the proportion of spaces with time restrictions.

While 55% of spaces in the Armidale CBD do not have a time restriction, “standard practice in regional centres is 40% of CBD car parking is unrestricted”.

The report also questions the prevalence of three-hour zones in the Armidale CBD, saying one and two-hour zones were more typical in regional centres, to encourage higher turnover and make sure spaces were readily available for all users.

TPS advised Council needed to more strictly enforce time restrictions. Its report says the number of penalties imposed for motorists who exceeded the limit was significantly lower than other regional centres – even though Council’s electronic detection system showed the level of infringements was just as high.

Further, the consultant recommended greater off-street parking requirements for commercial developments. While Council requires developers to provide the equivalent of two and a half car parking space for every 100 square metres of floorspace for the retail or commercial area, standard practice for regional centres is at least 3.33 spaces.

TPS noted 40% of parking in the Armidale CBD is located in the Armidale Plaza and Armidale Central shopping centres and it recommended Council work with the centres’ management to develop a collaborative and holistic approach to parking.

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