The growing momentum for 15 minutes free parking in select Sydney main streets is now supported by Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
The trial is expected to be rolled out on a trial period of one-year and will cover nine of Sydney’s main streets. Parking meters are to be marked by signage, indicating the free 15 minutes option.
Liberal Councillor Christine Forster claims the idea isn’t new and said she originally proposed the idea late last year.
“It came about during the election campaign,” she said.
“The Liberal team [Ms Forster and Edward Mandla] campaigned very hard on the idea that there should be 15 minutes free parking on local shopping strips.”
A spokesperson for Ms Forster said she had brought the idea to the attention of Ms Moore.
“Originally back in 2012, Christine moved a notice of motion, calling for the Council to introduce a six-month trial for 15 minutes free parking,” the spokesperson said.
“The Lord Mayor responded with a general Lord Mayoral minute reviewing the city’s parking policy as a whole. The recommendation in that Lord Mayorial minute in the October meeting didn’t mention specifically 15 minutes free parking.
“Christine then moved an amendment to that Lord Mayoral minute, which mentioned 15 minutes free parking specifically.”
That amendment lost seven votes to three, with Ms Forster, Mr Mandla and Angela Vithoulkas the only three councillors to vote in favour of the amendment.
The spokesperson for Ms Forster said a similar amendment was then foreshadowed, with slightly different phrasing, but its intent essentially the same.
“John Mant, one of the [Lord Mayor] Clover Moore’s independents, moved pretty much the same amendment, but with slightly different wording, which mentioned 15 minutes free parking so that they could claim it as their amendment essentially,” the spokesperson said.
Ms Forster attempted amendment stated: “Instruct staff to specifically study the feasibility of a permanent scheme under which 15 minutes free parking would be available on all meters within the local government area.”
Mr Mant’s similar version stated: “Instruct staff specifically to study feasibility of a scheme under which 15 minutes free parking could be available within the local government area.”
Ms Vithoulkas, a staunch supporter of urban small business, said the move will assist turnover.
“15 minutes free parking is a good start for the high streets and it supports small businesses that are really struggling,” she said. “It will encourage a faster turnaround of parking places.
“Parking reform is very important, in particular for the residents. An immediate audit of underutilised areas that can be reclaimed and allocated as resident parking spaces should be done and a freeze on further loss of parking for residents needs to be effected immediately.
“Hundreds of spaces have been lost in recent times and the people of Sydney are suffering.”
Ms Moore was contacted for comment but did not respond before press time. The trial of 15 minutes free parking will be deliberated at the November 18 Council meeting.