‘It’s pretty bad’: Inquiry to examine commuter parking problems

Toula Harwood, from Mount Ousley, doesn't even try to find a car park at North Wollongong train station, opting to walk or be dropped off instead. Picture: Georgia Matts
Toula Harwood, from Mount Ousley, doesn't even try to find a car park at North Wollongong train station, opting to walk or be dropped off instead. Picture: Georgia Matts

Struggling to find a park at your nearest train station?

Are you a road or public transport user who has an idea about how to improve commuter car parking?

The NSW Parliament’s transport and infrastructure committee wants to hear from you. 

The committee has launched an inquiry into the effectiveness of commuter car parking, including how parking locations are chosen and the potential for restricted-access, or user-pays, car parks.

Labor Member for Keira Ryan Park, one of five MPs who sit on committee, said he was keen to ensure regional issues were addressed during the inquiry process.

“The commuter belt, particularly around the Hunter, Central Coast and the Illawarra, is where we need good quality commuter car parking,” Mr Park said.

“We [Labor] invested in Woonona, we invested in Bulli, we invested in Wollongong, but there are suburbs in the area …  where we need to see upgrades.”

Parking spaces are at a premium near North Wollongong train station. An inquiry into commuter car parking has been launched. Picture: Georgia Matts

Parking spaces are at a premium near North Wollongong train station. An inquiry into commuter car parking has been launched. Picture: Georgia Matts

Mr Park, who is also Labor’s Illawarra spokesman, said one area in need of a car parking solution was North Wollongong station, home to a “very, very dense commuter population”.

“It services the university, one of the most populated universities in the country, certainly in NSW,” he said.

Toula Harwood, from Mount Ousley, uses North Wollongong station on a regular basis. 

“I don’t park here because there’s nowhere to park. It’s pretty bad,” Ms Harwood said.

I don’t park here because there’s nowhere to park. It’s pretty bad.

Toula Harwood

“You’ve got the uni, you’ve got the TAFE, the high schools [in the area], there’s just nowhere to park.”

Ms Harwood often walks to the station. On Friday, she was dropped off in time to catch a Sydney-bound train.

At the time, the Mercury spotted a number of cars using the bus U-turn bay, on the western side of the station, as a drop-off zone. 

Committee chairwoman, and Miranda MP, Eleni Petinos said the inquiry would also explore new initiatives to encourage the use of commuter car parks in the future.

“We will investigate whether new technology such as smartphone apps with real-time parking information can make it easier for commuters to find parking, or if the Opal system could be used to ensure commuter car parks are only serving public transport users,” Ms Petinos said.

The committee has called for public submissions, which close on August 4.

For information, visit: parliament.nsw.gov.au/transportinfrastructure