There are six days left for Gunnedah shire residents to give feedback on the CBD parking contribution plan.

In October 2021, the Gunnedah Shire Council resolved to allocate in the budget to update the 2018 car parking strategy and to develop a contribution plan.

It hired consultants Bitzios Consulting which updated the CBD Parking Strategy.

This strategy assisted in producing the CBD Parking Contribution Plan, which is currently on public exhibition.

It noted how the parking landscape had evolved since the previous study was conducted in 2018.

The strategy applies a scope from Bloomfield Street to Railway Avenue (including both sides of the street).

It sought to understand how CBD parking is used in Gunnedah including supply and demand.

It looked at the total number of car parks in the CBD and the usage trends.

Gunnedah Shire Council director infrastructure services Jeremy Bartlett explained the need for the strategy.

“Before we can effectively implement a contributions plan towards new car parks as the CBD develops and evolves, we need to understand how it is working for our CBD now,” he said.

“What the strategy found was that parking occupation has actually decreased marginally since 2018, with a more even spread of parking demand in our CBD. Short-term parking spaces have increased by five per cent and there are an additional four ‘person with disability’ car parks.

“Our population is predicted to grow, and this strategy makes a number of recommendations to help manage our parking network into the future. This strategy has also informed the proposed Gunnedah CBD Parking Contributions Plan to allow a fair and practical method to levy development that increases demand on council-provided car parking.”

The Gunnedah CBD Parking Review Study Report by Bitzios Consulting used information from multiple parking surveys by Traffic Data and Control.

The occupancy surveys were performed on Wednesday, March 23 and Thursday, March 24, 2022.

The stay surveys of the core CBD area were taken on Wednesday, March 23, 2022.

The report found that most of Gunnedah’s CBD parking had no time restrictions (72 per cent) while the rest were mostly made up of two-hour parking.

It found that Gunnedah had 30 accessible parks supplied for people with disabilities, making it 1.7 per cent of CBD parking.

It falls shy of the recommended two per cent of overall parking supply the Australian Standards recommends for retail and commercial centre areas.

Private vehicles dominate the travel percentage in Gunnedah with 77.7 per cent used for trips to work.

Cr Robert Hoddle wanted the plan to come back to council before implementing it.

“It gives us a bit more time to look at this,” Cr Hoddle said.

“We would like to look at what other councils are charging in their parking plans, understand ours would be considerably cheaper but I think it would be a good idea for it to come back to council so we can have another go at it,” Cr Hoddle said.

Users on Facebook have commented on council’s Facebook post.

“Please take into consideration the fact that many vehicles are oversized and can often make parking awkward for smaller vehicles, especially in the main street. When large vehicles are parked near intersections it’s also difficult to see around them,” a user commented on Facebook.

“Please don’t introduce ticketed parking like in Tamworth. It really kills the vibe of encouraging local shopping in a tough market. Plus who doesn’t want to bump into a friend and go for a coffee or lunch without having to worry about parking fines,” another commenter said.

The public may provide feedback on the Parking Contribution Plan to council through email, completing an online form or posting a submission to council.

The plan is currently in its exhibition period and will close at 5pm on Wednesday, November 15, before returning back to council.

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