High rise in line with population

High rise: The Edward St carpark shortly after it was built in July 2012. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

High rise: The Edward St carpark shortly after it was built in July 2012. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

A $14.9 million, multi-story car park built two years ago to accommodate future growth in the City of Greater Bendigo two years ago is fulfilling its purpose, according to council.

Coined the cheese grater for its distinctive exterior, the four-level, 420-space complex on Edward Street was built in July 2012 to ensure people had somewhere to park as more traveled into the CBD for work and leisure.

For the May-June 2014 period, council figures show the car park reached a 68 per cent utilisation rate, an increase from 21 per cent when it first opened.

In January-February 2014 it reached the 50 per cent mark.

City parking and animal services manager Neville Zimmer said an average of 342 cars were using the complex daily, and staying an average of 5.6 hours a day.

The council-funded car park has 130 more spaces than the other multi-story car park on Hargreaves Street, which according to the recent figures takes an average of 278 cars a day and has an average 80 per cent utilisation rate. 

CBD parking as a whole had also increased by about four per cent since the Edward Street car park opening, the figures showed. 

Mr Zimmer said the CBD parking utilisation rate was now at 71 per cent, which was at a good, sustainable level.

"When it gets up into 90 per cent is when we would have reason for concern, because it would mean demand (for car parks) was getting higher than supply," he said.

Mr Zimmer said the figures not only indicated more people were coming into the CBD but that more were looking to park for longer periods without having to plan their stay based on two or three-hour metered parking.

"If parking in off-street parking, you have to pre-plan how long you want to stay," he said.

The multi-story car park provided a much “more relaxed parking experience”, he said. 

He said while the Hargreaves Street car park took 10 years to reach the utilisation levels it had now, he wasn’t expecting the Edward St car park to take as long. 

“This car park, at 68 per cent, we’re quite happy with that," he said.

"Our early prediction this year is 70 per cent, we think that’s pretty achievable."

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