ONE of the consequences of the construction boom in the Newcastle CBD has been a substantial loss of parking spaces.
And details of parking infringement notices obtained under freedom of information laws show many millions of dollars flowing into Newcastle City Council coffers from parking revenue and parking fines.
Hunter Street, Wright Lane and King Street top the list for infringement notices, with more than $1.35 million worth of fines being written in the three streets over the past two years by council parking officers.
The Wright Lane fines will no doubt apply to the parking area backing onto the rail corridor behind the Newcastle Museum, whereas the Hunter Street and King Street fines will have been gathered from the length of each road.
The parking situation has been exacerbated recently by the loss of a Honeysuckle car park to a Doma construction site, and the demolition of the old David Jones car park in King Street.
With the loss of these parking spaces and others, competition has increased for the remaining spots.
In Newcastle West, the two Marketown car parks are more noticeably full than they have been in the past, while the numbers of vehicles parking in suburban streets on the edge of the CBD are also becoming a problem for many residents.
In the past, the response to such a situation would have been to build more car parks, but modern planning policy is based around encouraging people to use public transport, rather than motor vehicles, when it comes to travelling to the city centre.
As a result, developers are aligning their projects with these changes, so that the University of Newcastle’s Honeysuckle campus, which will bring thousands of people a day into the CBD, will be built with only a dozen parking spots to be provided if the plans are approved as submitted.
Even with minimal vehicles in the CBD, there will still be a need for sufficient car spaces for deliveries and various other every-day situations that cannot be satisfied by public transport. And if commuters are to be encouraged out of their cars, the bus, tram, ferry and train offerings will have to be good. Otherwise, the present situation will continue, with parking fines as an occupational hazard of the CBD, and the council continuing to rake in the money.