Parking patrols in Baw Baw have been “significantly” increased in response to community demands.
Baw Baw Shire Council has been grappling with limited parking and a growing population, and mayor Joe Gauci said increasing patrols is hoped to make in-town parking better.
“We are continuing to consider viable options for increasing parking spaces in these towns but want to offer fairer use of the available spaces in the meantime,” Cr Gauci said in a media release.
“Council acknowledges that many community members obey the parking rules in time bays and in restricted parking areas such as disabled spaces and loading zones.”
Cr Gauci said there is strong community support for increased patrols, which were approved at last week’s council meeting.
A two-week warning period for illegally parked vehicles was also adopted, suggesting fines from the increased patrols will not begin until 11 December.
Baw Baw’s community compliance team has issued 577 parking infringements this year as of 30 October. Over half of those were in Warragul, over a quarter in Drouin, and most of the rest in Trafalgar.
Fixing the Warragul CBD
The increase in patrols came in response to a report from council staff on parking in the Warragul CBD.
While the council can freely patrol parking on public roads, it does not patrol private car parks at businesses like supermarkets. The staff report suggests Warragul alone has 232 private parking spaces.
Agreements between the council and several private car park owners previously allowed patrols to be extended into those sites but have been allowed to lapse. The report states the agreements are being renegotiated.
Data from the report largely draws on the 2015 Warragul Parking Study, which defined the town’s “principal CBD area” as Smith Street between Queen and Albert, Palmerston Street between Smith and Queen, and Victoria Street between Smith and the McDonald’s drive-through.
The 2015 report found the busiest parking period for on-street parking in the area was between 11am and 1.30pm, with a bump at around 3pm.
At midday on weekdays over 90 per cent of spaces were occupied.
The street parking occupancy graph from 2015’s study. Source: Baw Baw Shire Council.
Critically, that data does not include the Woolworths or Coles car parks and predates the opening of Newmason and its underground parking spaces.
While Mason Street was not considered a part of the principal CBD area, recent and planned developments could have a significant impact on the street’s importance. In fact, Cr Gauci once said it could become Warragul’s “main street.”
Outer CBD parking occupancy rates reached a peak occupancy of 70 per cent in the 2015 study period.
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