The City of Greater Bendigo will trial time-restricted parking bays for residential streets near the Sacred Heart Cathedral and Girton Grammar junior school amid a legal challenge from residents concerned with parking in the area.
The four-month trial, which starts on January 22, comes after intense lobbying from neighbours, including a petition signed by 98 residents that was presented to council in September, and will inform the city’s residential parking policy.
The two-hour bays will incorporate Rowan, Vine, Wattle, High, Short, Forest and Mackenzie Streets and will apply from 8.30am – 5.30pm Monday to Friday, while existing time restrictions on streets within the trial area will remain the same.
Bendigo councillors in December approved development plans for the Aspire Precinct – an interfaith precinct adjacent to the cathedral – and in doing so agreed to waive the requirement for 40 car parks, meaning no parking spaces will be built at the precinct.
Max Turner is one of 15 applicants who are appealing the council’s decision in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Mr Turner, who resides close to the cathedral, said the council’s trial was a “knee jerk reaction” to problems they had created.
“All that (timed parking) will achieve is pushing people further out - so streets beyond us will suffer,” he said.
“It doesn't solve the problem we've got. Residents made it very clear that we wished to have permit parking.
“It’s a knee-jerk reaction to an issue that they've created of their own making by allowing statutory requirements for parking (at the Aspire Precinct) to be waived.
“As we've made clear we were not against the principle of what Aspire is planning to achieve it’s just that we are dead set against no parking.
Bendigo council manager of safe and healthy environments Caroline Grylls said the area was chosen due to high traffic volumes around the school, visitation to the cathedral and its proximity to central Bendigo.
“It is a very busy area, particularly with people using it as a place to park all day while they go to work in the CBD,” she said.
“It is anticipated that providing a number of time restricted bays will encourage vehicle turnover, creating available spaces for visitors and tradespeople. It should also provide residents with an option to park for short periods to access their property during the day.
“The city welcomes feedback from all residents in the trial area. We are also looking into what other councils are doing, so all options are up for consideration.”
Ms Grylls said residents’ concerns with parking in the precinct informed where the trial site should be, but it was not a direct result of the Aspire Precinct plan or the subsequent VCAT challenge.
Residential permit parking will be considered as part of the overall review into council’s parking policy but it will also be balanced by the needs of local businesses, tourists and others, she said.
The review, which will come with a number of recommendations, is expected to be completed by the end of June.
A person with a valid disabled parking permit will be able to park in the time restricted bays for double the time stated on the sign while tradespeople may also be eligible for exemption from the time restrictions.
Councillors voted 5-4 in favour of the Aspire Precinct at the December council meeting as debate centred on parking plans.
VCAT confirmed the hearing is scheduled for July 9.