PARKING. Bloody parking.
Eleven hundred car parks in the city to go.
Bring out your dead.
Nothing gets the blood boiling of the entitled Novocastrian more than a lack of free or low-cost parking in and around Newcastle’s central business district where and when they want it.
Which either demonstrates there aren’t that many major problems confronting locals or shows they still regard the joint as some sort of Hicksville, where one comes into “town” and nabs a park right out the front of the establishment where one intends to discuss the price of hay bales.
“But the public transport is terrible and it takes too long and I am really busy and we used to have a train and what if it is raining . . . ”
We are destroying Newcastle’s potential with too much expectation around free and low-cost parking of cars.
Cities in Europe have now acknowledged the damage cars have done to streets as social spaces, which is why they are discouraging car use in favour of walking, cycling and public transport (yes thank you, we used to have a train in to the city, but … ).
Oslo in Norway has determined its downtown area will be car free from 2019 in order to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality, as well as to enhance the environment for both pedestrians and cyclists.
The ongoing bleating for parking where and when people want it in the Newcastle CBD and surrounds is a tortuous soundtrack.
King Edward Park could be renamed King Edward Car Park with that many commuters now treating it as such.
Generally, there’s already plenty of parking in the CBD – it’s just that you have to pay for it (beyond 15 minutes) and it may require a short walk.
It’s sure going to be fun and games from July next year when students flood into the city looking for non-existent close-by car parks at the new campus.
Residents in areas around the university precinct – especially where there is no charge for parking – can expect a tsunami of lappers looking for a spot.
I hope plenty of cycling racks will be available at the new university campus.
It’s more than a pity the light rail could not have been extended to the football stadium right from its inception.
Acres and acres of car parking spaces sit there empty except for around 30 days a year when the Knights or the Jets play.
And let’s hope the new operator of buses in Newcastle will run services after games to and from Broadmeadow railway station so the aging crowd that are rugby league fans don’t have to continue to schlep it by foot.
When the Knights last played the Tigers on the “sacred ground” (oh spare me, it’s only sacred because the Knights died almost every time they played there during the last couple of seasons) on a Sunday arvo, I met some Tigers’ fans who were gobsmacked they had to walk to near Broadmeadow Maccas and wait for more than half-an-hour with around 40 others to get back into the city.
No wonder many choose to drive to the ground and hand over a tenner.
The Newcastle City Council needs to develop a strategy about cars in and around the CBD, not just a parking strategy.
The easier they make parking, the more the expectations of the entitled will grow.