FREMANTLE council is considering removing four 15-minute parking bays and a loading zone on Market Street, despite several business owners voicing their disapproval.
Under council’s proposal, the freed-up bays outside the Manning Building would be used to re-instate awnings and increase the width of the footpath, making it safer for pedestrians.
Currently businesses place signs and displays on the footpath, edging pedestrians closer to the road and leaving them less than a metre.
Warrens Menswear owner Sam Pangiarella says removal of the bays is “ridiculous”.
“It’s the only free parking in Market Street, from High Street to the markets, and the loading zone is invaluable,” he says.
He says the parking and loading bays are almost never empty and nearby options on Paddy Troy Lane are a “nightmare” due to its one-way nature.
“Most of the courier drivers I talk to hate Paddy Troy Lane, they just avoid it,” he says, adding other loading bays on High and Bannister Streets are small and normally always in use.
Council sent an email to 25 businesses and 10 property owners and delivered four feedback forms in person, inviting responses on the project.
Of the nine businesses and two property owners who responded, all but one were against the bay removal, with local businesses worried it would negatively effect customer numbers who’d lose the “pick up/ drop off” nature of the free, short-term bays.
They’re also concerned deliveries will be delayed without the loading bay.
Bob’s Shoes manager Dana Anderson says one of their delivery drivers says if he can’t park close enough to the shop, he won’t deliver that day.
“If we’re going to have to wait for deliveries because of this, that’s a bit unfair to everyone,” she says.
“We’re in the change of season at the moment so all our delivery guys park there. Last week, in one day, we got 52 boxes. It’s not very nice for the delivery guy to park 10 minutes away and lug all the boxes.”
Ms Anderson says losing the 15-minute parking bays would have a huge impact.
“We get a lot of customers that are parked there and yes, they might be there for more than 15 minutes, maybe they’ll be half-an-hour; pop to the post office, then pop in and buy a pair of shoes.”
She says in “today’s economic times” even one pair of shoes is an important sale. I’m all for Fremantle having a facelift, but car parks is not something we should lose,” she says.
Both Ms Anderson and Mr Pangiarella would prefer to see shops cut back on footpath signs and displays, than lose the bays.
Department of planning guidelines state footpaths should be at least 2.4 metres wide in commercial or shopping areas, and 3-4 metres wide in a busy CBD pedestrian area.
Council’s finance and policy committee this week deferred a decision to the full council meeting.
by MOLLY SCHMIDT