DIVIDE | Parking wars in the suburbs

Posted on 24/10/2011

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The car parking wars in suburban Chermside are now underway. John just came home reporting that with today’s implementation of paid car parking at the Westfield Shopping Centre, the car park seemed almost empty. Ordinarily, he said, there are hundreds of cars in the car park when he heads to work via the Chermside Bus Interchange. Westfield frowned on the use of their car park by commuters and the decision to introduce paid parking (first three hours free) was intended to respond to that issue either by acting as disincentive or as a user pays transaction – incidentally, the bus interchange is located at the shopping centre and there are no other parking facilities available for commuters. This is not the way to create a major activity centre in the northern region of greater Brisbane. John also noted that the Services Club car park was protected by a guard and the library car park bore a sign stating that the car park was for use by library customers only. The streets are choked with parked cars.

Surely there was and is a better way of managing this rather than Westfield issuing its edicts and thus catalysing a chain reaction of defensive tactics from other major property owners and service providers, while managing to inconvenience a significant number of working people, including staff of the centre. John noted that there was no visible presence of BCC staff to manage or direct parking;  Westfield itself took no responsibility for the impact of their decisions. Both centre management and BCC should have anticipated that this would happen and recognised that there was a considered response from all officials involved. However, he did note that parking police were issuing tickets to those who had illegally parked. It just looks like a massive grab for money at the expense of the working people of this city. The issue here is not about any perceived right to free parking or right to drive cars; it’s about effective linkage between transport and land use. Denied appropriate and affordable transport links, people using the commuter interchange remain ever car dependent and subject to increasing cost of living pressures. These are the kinds of issues that the #occupy movement is taking up worldwide – the fleecing and disregard of working people by greedy corporations and feckless governments – as symptomatic of a failing and degenerate economic order.

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