Parking trial fails to please everyone

PARKING meters in the Newcastle CBD went blank yesterday, pleasing visitors and business owners but potentially creating problems in some corners of the city.

The Newcastle Herald reported  on Saturday that Newcastle City Council’s two-hour free parking trial would instead become a free-for-all, requiring all meters to be switched off.

The confused council will hold an extraordinary meeting tomorrow for councillors to clarify the intent of the trial. Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy has also lodged a rescission motion to be discussed on December 19.

Potential problems raised in recent days include the estimated cost to the city of about $700,000, which could increase now meters have been turned off in four, eight and 10 hour parking zones.

Impacts will also be felt in areas like Newcastle East, where parking machines are an important tool in managing the area.

Residents said many of the old terrace houses do not have off-street parking spaces, and the meters are designed to act as a deterrent to visitors and ensure spaces are available for local residents.

The trial, proposed by councillors Lisa Tierney (Liberal) and Michael Osborne (Greens), was designed to support businesses by encouraging people into the city.

Business owners and visitors said yesterday it was a good move.

David Schiaffi, from Tingira Heights, came to the city for a surf and found free parking on Hunter Street.

‘‘Free parking will encourage people to come to the CBD again,’’ Mr Schiaffi said.

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