Parking meters, electronic parking sensors and a significant expansion of time-limited parking areas are among a range of measures being considered by Byron Council for Brunswick Heads, Mullumbimby and Bangalow.
The measures are contained in three separate reports prepared by Council staff, which will be voted on at this week’s council meeting.
The reports are based on parking surveys conducted in each of the three towns by Council staff, the data from which was then analysed by private contractor Traffic and Parking Systems (TPS).
TPS found that parking in Bangalow, Brunswick Heads and Mullumbimby was currently ‘adequate,’ but that the majority of the timed zones in each of the towns were ‘at or near capacity,’ most of the time.
In response to this finding, Council staff and TPS have recommended increasing the areas covered by timed parking in Brunswick Heads and Mullumbimby (see break-outs). They have also recommended reducing the amount of time that locals are allowed to park within certain time restricted areas, including changing all three-hour parking areas in Brunswick Heads to two hours.
Staff further recommended increasing the amount of parking surveillance and monitoring in each of the three towns to ensure that locals stuck to the rules.
There were two sets of options put forward by TPS to achieve this.
The first option, to increase the number of parking officer patrols, was seen to be difficult to sustain given, ‘the need to consistently patrol all towns and the competing demand to patrol additional compliance issues, such as illegal camping and animal compliance’.
The second, coming under the delightfully optimistic title ‘technology opportunities’, included the introduction of parking sensors and parking meters.
Parking sensors are electronic devices located beneath the road which detect when a car has overstayed the limit and relays this information to Council officers. The advantage of this option is the relatively low cost of installation and the efficiency gains in terms of staffing. Staff said the advantage of parking meters was that they ‘typically reduce infringements to approximately five per cent, even without increasing patrol frequencies’.
In justifying the need for the increase in enforcement measures, staff pointed to the fact that parking schemes in each of the towns were either approaching capacity or expected to exceed capacity in the near future.