Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A letter of complaint - to Port Phillip Council

I am absolutely sick of the parking restrictions in that hell-hole, its well beyond oppressive, and totally inefficient. I wrote the following letter of complaint.

I am writing to express my frustration and anger at the current state of parking signs and restrictions in St Kilda, especially around the commercial areas of Fitzroy Street and Acland Street.

The status quo is absolutely unbearable for motorists. The amount of stress it causes myself, and at least a dozen others who live in the area, is significant. And the benefits of having such draconian and severe parking restrictions are simply non-existent. There is indeed a benefit to the council in terms of revenue, but it is not the role of the local council to impose blanket parking fees across the vast majority of the road system at all hours of the day.

There is no justification for the current levelof parking restrictions in terms of traffic management. The restrictions apply all year round, all days of the week and all times of the day. They even apply to areas well beyond the busy commercial strips.

The costs with parking tickets is astronomical, and I go to great lengths to avoid paying close to $3 per hour to park my car in a busy street. If it means walking half an hour, so be it. This Sunday evening, the St Kilda foreshore was almost completely devoid of cars. At least 90% of parking spaces were available, so there should be no need to operate ticket machines and charge people for a service that is abundant in supply at a time when demand is so low.

But even more dissapointing is the time restrictions placed in Fitzroy Street. What kind of justification is there for having 15 minute, or 30 minute parking spaces ? The current signs do a terrible job at allocating parking spaces to people.

What you seem to be forgetting is that people do not have a valid reason to over-stay and park. They go about their business, eat out, go out to nightspots or shops, and then they go home. Why should they be forced to stress over whether their car has been in a spot for 31 minutes ?

I hope you will see reason and stop oppressing motorists. After all, they are the ones who live and visit your area, and support the businesses and live in the homes that pay so much through council rates. In terms of emissions and fuel consumption, a great deal of driving time is wasted by motorists looking for spots. This trend is significant, I often spend 5 or 10 minutes driving to St Kilda and then 15 minutes trying to park, whilst competing with many other drivers.

Port Phillip council has a reputation as the most over-regulated and socialised council in Melbourne. They are becoming too authoritarian, deciding on how every inch of land should be used and even how people's private property must be used. There is not an inch of freedom or breathing space for people, and it seems a whole range of actions is either forbidden or heavily taxed.

All parking restrictions should be removed. But it would be a good start to remove them outside of working hours, reduce the fees, and increase the time limits.

Please take this seriously, I visit the area several times each week, and it would be a good sign that you are concerned with giving freedom to individuals and businesses, and not to filling your own coffers.