A Darlinghurst retailers consortium wants free 15-minute parking zones in retail areas of village main streets outside the city centre extended permanently, six months into the year-long trial by the City of Sydney.
Darlinghurst Business Partnership president Stephen Gyory called for an increase in the trial period to fully experience the benefits of increased business activity.
The City introduced the trial in December in an effort to support businesses. Although there have been no serious complaints with the initiative, questions surrounding the trial’s positive impacts for business owners are being raised.
“It is very difficult to pin down economic effects [of the current trial] without research,” Mr Gyory said.
“But ideally we think that a 30 to 40 minute free park would be more reflective of the kind of short jaunts people make into the area.”
The affected areas include Harris St, Pyrmont; Crown St, Surry Hills; Redfern St, Redfern; parts of King St, Newtown; and William, Victoria and Oxford Sts, Darlinghurst.
However, Mr Gyory said other measures were needed to allow businesses in the area to prosper. The Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) refuse to see Oxford St as a popular destination for shoppers and consumers, he said.
“Unfortunately, the RMS continues, to this day, to consider Oxford St a ‘gateway’ to the CBD [central business district], not a destination in its own right.
“The lack of sense of place on Oxford St could be ameliorated by a 40kmh speed limit and the wholesale removal of clearways.
“Any local will tell you Oxford St is nowhere near capacity and that buses race down it at over 60kmh.”
The council will conduct a study of the initiative after the trial period has ended. However, City parking inspectors are understood to be happy with its reception so far, saying they have received positive feedback from many commuters and residents.
“I have noticed some very happy customers,” Mr Gyory said, based on the 15 minute spots outside his own business in the area.
“It really makes someone’s day when they snag a free quick spot. And this is of great benefit to the community.”
Mr Gyory said the he was keen to see the trial continue permanently.
The initiative was expected to affect up to 726 parking spaces within the designated areas and cost $1 million in lost parking ticket revenue.
However, Lord Mayor Clover Moore said she supported the measure to give businesses a boost, especially coinciding with its implementation in the run up to Christmas late last year.
The trial will continue until December 31. A report on the trial will determine whether or not it is continued into the future.