Maitland car parking may be stretched to the limit but it shows signs of a healthy economy

Late last year Maitland Mayor Peter Blackmore said the city’s parking shortage was the sign of a can-do city.

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Yes, Maitland is booming.

Yes, it is reaping the benefits of major construction works at Stockland Green HIlls.

Yes, more people are moving into Central Maitland to live.

And, yes, The Levee has piqued the interest of many, bringing a wider Hunter audience into the city centre.

However, with the imminent opening of Aldi, the city’s daytime population is set to grow even more.

The mayor said there wouldalways be requests for additional car parking in the CBD but that was a positive sign. Ifthere were a large number of vacant spaces, traders would say the CBD was in decline.

Council’s Development and Environment Manager David Simm said council rangers undertookparking control throughout Maitland as part of their general duties.

“Council is in discussions with private off-street parking owners about exploring potential enforcement arrangements between parties,” he said.

Mr Simm said there were 500 on-street and over 3000 off-street parking spaces within 500 metres of The Levee shared zone. “In addition, short-stay parking spaces have been introduced in the shared zone,” he said.

If this is the case, why are workers, residents, business operators and shoppers still complaining?

Cherie Thompson and colleague Susan Hegarty (pictured), who both work at a St Andrew’s Street marketing business, said unless they arrived at least 45 minutes before their shifts they had little chance of finding apark.

Most of the car parking closeto businesses have a three hour limit.

Fairfax Media reported in November how the owners of the Hunter Mall (the Kmart complex) asked council to implement limitedparking to prevent city centre workerstaking up parks for the duration of their shifts.

Workers who do the right thing and move their vehicles afterthree hours then struggle to findanother park. This is largely because many employeessnub their noseat the restrictions and opt to stay all day where they shouldn’t.

It’s a vicious cycleand one that mayonly be rectified through more consistentpolicing and more courteousmotorists.