Lake parking headaches to get attention

Park It: A parking area in Charlestown.Charlestown, Cardiff and Warners Bay were the Lake Macquarie town centres with the most critical parking problems, councillor Rob Denton said.
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The comments come as the city council calls for community comment on a Lake Macquarie Parking Strategy.

“As a user of those town centres, I’d love to see them all have more parking to increase their appeal,” Cr Denton said.

Business owners and residents had highlighted the three town centres as having “the most critical shortages”, he said.

Deputy mayor Brian Adamthwaite said the strategy would consider “the whole city and look at parking needs and what sort of mix there should be”.

Councillor Adamthwaite said the council had previously stated its opposition to paid parking.

But he said the new strategy would consider “multi-storey car parks at places like Charlestown, which may incorporate some paid parking”, as well as free spaces.

The council’s willingness to boost parking would be linked to its environmental outlook.

“Ideally we want to be greener and more sustainable and to that extent we’re increasing cycleways to help with transport,” Cr Adamthwaite said.

“The crunch comes with the state government, which provides public transport.”

He noted that Newcastle had been embroiled in “public transport mayhem”.

The availability of public transport was also a “real problem” in Lake Macquarie.

“To have a parking strategy work in concert with a Lower Hunter public transport strategy would make perfect sense,” he said.

“That involves local and state governments coming together to plan for the future, rather than just having band-aid solutions.”

Cr Denton said there was an “anti-car lobby” opposed toincreasing car parking spaces.

“They haven’t come up with sufficient alternatives,” he said.

Until this occurred, he was against stripping back the needs of motor car users.

Any alternatives, he said, must have “equal or greater convenience at the same or less cost”.

“A lot of people have their lifestyles based around cars,” he said.

Cr Denton said parking problems were caused by “short-sightedness of the past”.

In 2013, he opposed a parking shortfall at a medical centre in Cooranbong.

“It was politicised that ‘if you vote against this you’re voting against medical services’,” he said.

But from his perspective, he voted to avoid pedestrian and traffic chaos in future.

Until now, the council did not have a “formal citywide parking strategy”, a statement said.

It had previously dealt with parking demand and supply “on a case-by-case basis”.

The findings and recommendations from the strategy will enable the council to prepareforand manage parking issues.

“This may include individual parking management plans for each town centre, or other areas identified as requiring detailed planning or management controls.”

People can comment on the parking strategy on the council’s “Have Your Say” website.

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