2 July 2020

Pay-by-plate parking to end light rail freeloading at Gungahlin Village

| Ian Bushnell
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Gungahlin Village

The light rail terminus, with Gungahlin Village at right. Photo: File.

Light rail commuters be warned: the days of all-day free parking at Gungahlin Village Shopping Centre are coming to an end.

Plans have been lodged for ticketless ‘pay-by-plate’ parking at the Wilson-operated multi-level car park on the corner of Hinder and Efkarpidis Streets, and one of the key reasons for its introduction, according to the development application, is the number of tram travellers using it as a free ‘park and ride’ station.

The DA says the new system will ensure that patrons using the car park are likely to use it for its intended use – shopping at the shopping centre.

“Visitors and shoppers retain access to convenient car parking, with the new car parking system facilitating efficient vehicle movements into and out of the site,” it says.

Transport Canberra’s nearby Park and Ride is located at Gozzard Street, with entry from Efkarpidis Street, and has 114 spaces.

The four levels of parking at Gungahlin Village, including basement and rooftop, provide 599 spaces and commuter parking is taking spaces away from shoppers and staff.

At present, it is open Monday to Friday, 8.30 am to 5.30 pm, and provides two hours’ free parking after which a $65 breach notice can be incurred. However, enforcement is an issue, with the operators having no simple way of telling which vehicles have overstayed and not being able to obtain vehicle registration details.

The Gungahlin Village car park

The Gungahlin Village car park (marked in red). Image: Development application.

The DA says enforcement, presumably by parking inspectors, is not a sustainable, long-term solution.

Number plate recognition technology will allow free parking for two hours or less, after which patrons will be charged a progressively upward staged fee.

The works involve the installation of bollards, boom gates and cameras at entrances and exits, as well as payment machines.

Basement, Ground and Level 1 will be open to customers, while Level 2 will cater for customer overflow and staff parking, and the Rooftop will be reserved for centre staff only.

The DA says shopping centre staff and other special persons will have access to the boom gate on Level 2, which will have a tap-and-go facility.

But opening hours will be extended, with the first three levels open 7:00 am to midnight, and the other two until 10:00 pm.

A total of six car spaces will be removed, five from the basement at the Efkarpidis Street entrance to allow for the boom gate and one car space at Level 2 to accommodate infrastructure for ticketless parking.

Public comment is open until 15 January 2020.

It will be interesting to see if the new arrangements have an impact on light rail use or whether Transport Canberra decides to increase Park and Ride facilities in the Town Centre.

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I’m getting tired of this government, time to vote a new one in.

What’s the government got to do with this exactly?

The Wanniassa shops with Coles (and a nearby Park and Ride) is having exactly the same issue. Twice before Xmas the entire shops Car Park was full, but not from shoppers. The spaces were taken by people who now have to drive to the R4 bus because the Wanniassa/Kambah surburban services have been removed or re-routed. ACT Government are only adding an extra 30 spaces to the park and ride, but that won’t go even close to coping with the numbers of cars.

How were they able to get free parking? I thought that carpark – like the others – was first 2 hours free then you pay. How did the boom gate open when they had overstayed past 2 hours?

No boom gates at this carpark and of course people know they can more less ignore those limits as Wilson’s cannot chase them for the fee for overstaying.

The marketplace at Gungahlin does have boom gates though.

The DA is for the installation of boom gates with number plate recognition to do exactly what you suggest.

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