There has been an upsurge in debate on the state of parking in Fremantle. Let me throw a couple of facts and ideas into the mix.
- By any measure there is not a lack of parking in Fremantle, the number of bays per worker is consistent with the worst car cities in USA, and up to double that of a European city.
- Council run parking stations are very rarely full, perhaps only 4 or 5 times a year.
- Off street parking in Fremantle is not expensive. In Queensgate First hour free, then $2.10 per hour. Most other Freo parking stations are cheaper than that.
- The Council has recently erected electronic signs to help people find parking close to their destination.
- Paid parking is a legitimate way of controlling bays. Without some control workers, students and rail commuters will snap up bays early in the morning, leaving no bays throughout the day for people wishing to visit retail or services, effectively forcing them out of business.
- The cost of running a City CBD is obviously much greater than servicing dormitory suburbs. Parking fees are one of the few ways a Council can raise the necessary funds.
- Box shopping centres and traditional high streets are very different in the way they operate. Parking in a box centre is not free; the cost is added to the shop rents and then onto the customers.
I hope I have made the point that Fremantle cannot afford free parking because free parking would result in no shopper parking during the day so businesses would suffer and close, plus free parking would starve the City of necessary funds.
Notwithstanding the above, there is a strong urban myth that parking is either too expensive or not available in Fremantle. Neither is true, but they are inextricably linked.
As a City that prides ourselves on our move towards being a transit city, we should not be considering increasing the number of carparks to cater for the busiest 5 or 6 days of the year, and we have sufficient available parking for the other 359 days.