Braddon is one of the fastest growing town centres in Canberra and while this is not going to be another article advocating for an IGA (however a recent survey found that around 80% of respondents are in favour of a supermarket in Braddon, just saying), this is an article advocating for greater parking availability.
Parking in Braddon is scarce – it’s on the verge of being non-existent. I am lucky enough that I live within easy walking distance to Lonsdale Street, and even luckier that my house has allocated parking so I don’t have to worry about parking on the street. However if I’m meeting up with non-Braddon residents for lunch, nine times out of ten they will be late because they’re not able to find a parking spot. Unless you’re one of the super lucky ones to nab a park in the small parking lot of about 20 spots (Haig Park, next to the big yellow Mandalay Bus), you’ll be fighting for a street park on Lonsdale or Mort Street – dizzy from doing laps around the block.
While friends being late for lunch and driving around in circles is frustrating for all parties, it is obviously not the most hugely inconvenient situation we’ll face in life and we can deal with it. So what about the businesses that are impacted? How does this affect them?
Adam Ciaccia from Axis Hairdressing took to Twitter in late August to express his frustration at the lack of parking. On average, four Axis clients per week are forced to cancel their appointments at the last minute because they’re unable to find a parking spot. Four customers per week, at an average cost of $250 per person is $1000 per week in sales lost by Axis. In one year, this will cost Axis – a local small business – around $48,000. This is a huge cut from their sales. Based on the minimum award rate, a loss of $48,000 each year is the cost of wages for a couple of junior apprentice hairdressers on the Axis staff. Before I lived within walking distance, I used to arrive about 30 minutes prior to my appointment with Axis because I was so worried about not being able to find a car spot. On multiple occasions I only just found a parking spot in time. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to drive around for 30 minutes looking for a parking spot like I had.
What can be done to increase parking in an already established town centre? Build on what you’ve got. I would be in strong favour of the parking lot next to the Mandalay Bus being extended to take up some of the largely unused Haig Park, however I suspect some may not like the idea of taking any amount of greenery away and replacing it with concrete. Perhaps we build up instead? Use a similar perimeter to the current parking lot and build a multi-storey parking lot. It might only fit about 50-100 extra parking spots due to height restrictions that might be in place but it would definitely make a noticeable difference for visitors.
With a new business opening up every few months, it can be guaranteed that Braddon is not slowing down. It’s thriving with every new day and parking should be a priority.