Weston Creek calls for more parking

The answer to Weston Creek’s car parking shortage is not more bike lanes, or more frequent bus services, it is simply more spaces around Cooleman Court – but how to achieve this is not quite so simple.
Members of the community toyed with the idea of paid parking or adding an extra storey to the car park and identified areas that could be turned into more parking spaces, at the Weston Creek Community Council (WCCC) meeting last Wednesday.

But one thing that was agreed was the need to find a solution soon, with the new suburbs of Wright and Coombs set to increase traffic into the centre by a potential 2000 vehicles.

WCCC chairman Tim Dalton told the meeting the ACT Government did not believe there were car parking issues in Weston Creek, yet the car parks around the centre were filled throughout the day.

“It’s not just locals, it’s people from Wanniassa, Curtin and Lyons who can’t park at Woden anymore. They might be elderly so they don’t catch the bus,” he said.

The chairman said one solution was to open up the site opposite Cooleman Court, which has been put aside for a community centre, as an overflow car park until Molonglo had its own shops.

Although Mr Dalton said he was not in favour of paid car parking, other residents felt this might be a feasible solution. Most were not in favour of the car park becoming multi-storey.
Weighing into the debate, Greens Member for Molonglo Caroline Le Couteur said the solution could be multi-faceted.

She said the Redex bus service, which was recently introduced in Gungahlin and runs every 15 minutes, had attracted about 2000 commuters each day, and a similar service might be one solution.

“We need to have more innovative bus services and more flexibility in the fleet,” she said.

Another suggestion made by Ms Le Couteur was better walking and riding trails.

She said there were many examples in Weston Creek where footpaths simply ended, which made it difficult to get around, particularly with a pram.

However Liberal Member for Molonglo Jeremy Hanson rejected both these suggestions.

He said the Redex service had caused problems at the shops in Gungahlin with residents leaving their cars in the car park to catch the bus.

“The problem has been moved out of Civic into Gungahlin and filled the car park there,’ , Mr
Hanson said.

With only nine per cent of the population using public transport, Mr Hanson said people would simply continue to drive.

“Some of these suggestions are noble aspirations but they don’t match the reality,” he said.

The politician said the problems facing- Cooleman Court was not unusual.

“If you go anywhere in Canberra residents will say tbe same thing we have more cars than car
parking spots,” Mr Hanson said.

“It’s going to be a long-term problem.”

With only limited capacity to squeeze a few extra car parking places out of side streets, Mr
Hanson said residents might need to compromise.

“If you want more car parks you might have to go high rise,” he said.

“I don’t think there is any one solution. You might have to accept car parks over a community
centre.”

Mr Dalton said WCC intended to survey the community on their thoughts and also speak to store owners in Cooleman Court.

“Although there isn’t one solution, that doesn’t mean we can’t put a magnifying glass over ‘this issue, ” he said.

by Nicole Rogowski
The Southside Chronicle
Tuesday 1 June 2010

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