FREMANTLE’S inner city residents will no longer get free street parking under a policy revamp being considered by the local council.
The council, which has sold four of its car parks to developers, says there’s not enough parking bays for everyone so its planning to ditch permits for residents living within the arc of Norfolk and Parry Streets.
Two-hour restrictions are also being considered for residents out to Hampton Road and in the busiest section of South Fremantle, while those in much of White Gum Valley and Beaconsfield face tickets for tarrying longer than four hours.
A fact sheet on the council’s website says the aim is to improve parking turnover in shopping precincts, push commuters out of suburbs and encourage people to jump on their bike or a bus.
But the changes have the Fremantle Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association hopping mad and claiming the council is on a crusade against car owners.
“This proposal…seems an attempt to forcefully implement this council’s ideological doctrine (no cars) without taking into consideration and understanding the full consequences to Fremantle business, property values, demographic impact to the city and suburbs or the lifestyle its residents have chosen,” the association said in a statement.
It says when warehouses are converted for housing and offices, parking has to be either on-street or in multi-storey car parks otherwise the developments won’t be commercially viable. But it says the council keeps approving new developments with inadequate or zero parking and selling off the car parks, adding to more pressure on the streets.
The result, it warns, will be stressed-out residents.
FRRA also warns of discontent in the suburbs hit by four-hour restrictions because of a proposed housing diversity policy that increases density but reduces car bays to one per dwelling.
“So where would the second car be parked after the four-hour limit expires. Where would guests park overnight or for a family gathering?” the association said in its statement.
FRRA head Mark Woodcock told the Herald when he queried the four-hour limit with the council a staffer initially thought he’d misread the draft policy.
It turned out he was right, but he says he was then told the limit probably wouldn’t be enforced.
“If you’re not going to enforce it, what’s the point of putting it in there,” he thundered.
Councillor Rachel Pemberton, who’s led the housing diversity push, was also mystified why the suburban limits would apply but supports the aims of the policy in relation to the CBD.
“We’re certainly not anti-cars, but people are going to have to get used to the fact the convenience might be less than it’s been in the past,” she told the Herald.
“I understand the desire for the convenience, but it’s not realistic.
“People just might have to walk a bit further.”
She says car ownership isn’t common in most big cities around the world, so people in Perth should start looking at how those residents made it work.
Cr Pemberton says the council is aware the sale of the car parks will have a major impact when they’re closed and is looking at alternative sites to build multi-storey car parks. Sites on the radar include Beach Street, the Stan Reilly site, the Leisure Centre and near the Italian Club.
But she warns it’s not going to be easy, with preliminary investigations showing each bay would cost $35,000 to construct. Over four to five storeys that would be prohibitively expensive for the council so it’s looking at possible public/private partnerships.
by STEVE GRANT