By CAM LUCADOU-WELLS
SPRINGVALE traders are being encouraged to move their cars from overcrowded on-street parking spaces to the under-utilised upper decks of Number 8 multi-storey car park in Balmoral Street.
Greater Dandenong Mayor Sean O’Reilly said even at peak times, when the on-street and lower deck spaces were full, the top two tiers remained largely empty.
The council offered free parking in Number 8 for several days around the Lunar New Year period this month to attract drivers to the top deck.
Cr O’Reilly said the council was exploring other options to entice traders away from using on-street parking.
“Part of it is education. The more we free up the on street parking – the less inconvenient we make it for customers, the more will come.
“Springvale has even more potential than it has now. Some of the main bottlenecks are parking and traffic.”
Springvale Asian Business Association spokesman Stan Chang said it was a good idea but many traders needed some convincing.
He said one option was to lease the top levels to traders at an attractive price, giving the owner Greater Dandenong Council a reliable income stream and the car park would gain greater perceived security.
Mr Chang listed several reasons for the car park’s unpopularity such as visitors deterred by the multi-deck’s tight corners as they wind their way up and down.
“It was sad to see a few levels of the car park not being utilised while on street level there is not enough parking.”
Mr Chan said he and other drivers have been stuck for up to 45 minutes due to a four-wheel-drive becoming wedged at one of the car park’s corners.
He said cars had also been held up at the single entry point when the boom gate was not correctly operating, or if a driver had forgotten to pay for their ticket before reaching the exit.
The lack of traffic and pedestrians also meant a lack of passive surveillance.
Mr Chang said the council’s possible introduction of 50 on-street parking meters would be a “hard sell” to traders.
He said traders would be more supportive if some of the metered parking revenue was used to improve parking infrastructure.
“There needs to be a trade off, or even better – a win-win.
“Everyone looks at the convenient, centralised parking at Glen Waverley as an example. They’re providing a big multi-storey car park and not charging people.
“Council needs to put in place plans for Springvale’s future growth.”