RESIDENTS on Attfield Street in South Fremantle say a council plan to control parking around the suburb’s bustling business strip will merely shunt the problem onto their doorsteps.
The suburb is one of the city’s few economic success stories with its cafes and bespoke traders busy during the week and overflowing on weekends.
But that’s causing headaches for nearby residents, who struggle to get a parking spot near home or find their driveways blocked by some soul waiting in a queue for a croissant.
The looming arrival of paid parking along Marine Terrace is expected to push more punters towards residential streets, particularly the many Notre Dame students who currently park there to save a few dollars and catch the CAT bus to class.
To try and control the problem, the council has proposed two-hour time limits for parking in South Freo’s side streets. Residents would qualify for a couple of parking permits, including one which can be given to visitors.
But the scheme stops at skinny Attfield Street, where residents say they already have to duck and weave to let each other through.
“So we’re the first street where it’s a free-for-all,” said one resident who only wanted to be known as Dr Jane.
“Can you imagine if this is wall-to-wall cars; there is no way we will will be able to get a park ourselves, or duck in and out – it’ll be absolutely so dangerous.”
Dr Jane said because Attfielders won’t qualify for residential permits under the current proposal, they’d no longer have the option of nipping into a side street when it got too crowded in front of their own homes.
“We want to live here because of the lifestyle, and we want businesses to thrive and we want to have visitors, but there is a big parking issue.”
Dr Jane said Fremantle had a parking problem which the council had first pushed to South Fremantle and was now planning to foist onto Attfield Street and beyond.
“It’s just going to be a disaster for this street.
“They need a proper solution; they need people who are experts in town planning and transport to solve the problem, not only for the residents but for the businesses as well.”
Another resident, who only wanted to be known as Peter, said the new arrangements would mean family gatherings and lunches might have to be limited to two hours.
“The Fremantle council tried and failed to change the parking arrangements along Marine terrace two years ago but refused to give up and are now intransigent in their determination to do so at the behest of a few residents and businesses not really affected by the current arrangements.
“What they have ignored is that a move in one area creates a change in another and the council’s response is to completely change for the worse the parking amenity for 200 or 300 houses in South Fremantle.
“Free parking along the west side of Marine Terrace combined with a regular CAT bus was an exceptionally good way to take parking pressure of the main city area – but that is abandoned for a small gain in parking revenues.
“Hard to see how that fits with protecting the amenity we all value.”
Dr Jane said when she found out about the plan, she canvassed neighbours and within hours had filled a page with signatures. About 40 turned out at short notice for a photo with the Herald, many angry that they hadn’t received anything about the plan from the council.
The council’s acting director of city business Andrew Hammond acknowledged houses on the east side of the street didn’t get a survey form, but said it was available online up until submissions closed last week.
“The concerns raised by Attfield Street residents are acknowledged and will be factored into considerations around next steps,” Mr Hammond said.
by STEVE GRANT