Council to turn off parking meters after 7pm
The Inner West Council will turn off main street parking meters after 7pm in Leichhardt, Rozelle and Balmain shopping strips.
The move, voted on at last night's Council Meeting, will “breathe life into the area's dining and cultural precincts”, said Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne.
“At the election, I promised to make parking fairer. As Mayor, I am now delivering on that promise.
“Following detailed costing and planning, the meters will now be turned off in two to three weeks,” he announced.
The vast majority of the Inner West Council's parking meters are located in the former Leichhardt Municipality.
"This change to parking meters will send a clear message to visitors and residents that our area is open for business," he said.
“We must bring back the hustle and bustle in the area and help re-establish the vibrant main streets the inner west has always been famous for,” said Mayor Byrne.
Mayor Byrne said the lost revenue will be funded through efficiency savings in 2017/18 Budget and not increases in parking or permit fees.
Local businesses have backed the move, saying will it will have positive impacts on the inner west's local night-time economy, and that the cost of parking was deterring customers from visiting, shopping and dining.
Bar Italia owner, Con Darnouras, praised Council for the initiative.
"Our customers regularly complain about the parking situation and our red wine and gelato can only go so far in relieving their frustrations,” said Mr Darnouras.
"Cost of living is so high in Sydney - people simply can't afford to fork out additional money on parking, so we are finding people are going elsewhere, like Concord, where there are no parking meters at all.
"This policy will be a massive relief for businesses in the area - customers will no longer have to rush and can soak up the entire experience," said Mr Darnouras.
"The truth is Norton Street and Darling Street both need a shot in the arm and turning the parking meters off at night could be the catalyst for the revival of these precincts," said Mayor Byrne.
"Councils all over Sydney have become addicted to parking meter revenue, but it's time for us all to kick the habit.
I'd like to see other councils follow our lead and turn their meters off. Together we can help bring Sydney's night economy back to life," he said.
Council will also now initiate wide community consultation on whether to:
- Extend 30 minutes free parking to side streets.
- Turn side-street meters off at night.
- How to improve main street parking across the whole inner west.