No doubt you've heard that a new era of parking is now under way in Ballarat.
And, most likely, there's still a bunch of questions floating around in your head.
With the new plan starting on February 1, the time is now to to wrap your head around exactly what it means for you.
HAVE YOUR SAY AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS STORY
The Courier has collated a list of 64 questions we sent to the City of Ballarat to try and get some clarity about what is in store.
Remember, there's two zones for parking in the CBD, paid and unpaid. In the paid zones, the first hour is free and every hour costs $3 after that, but you'll need to put your licence plate number into the new app, or one of the new parking meters that are being installed across the city.
Outside of that, in Zone 2, time limits will apply.
Explore exactly how the parking plan will work on the map below.
See The Courier's list of question submitted to City of Ballarat below.
Have meters been installed yet across Zone 1, and do they have options for coins, cash, and card?
New meters are being rolled out across Zone 1 currently and they have options for coins, cash and/or card. They are not currently operational, which is clearly indicated on them.
When will the app become available?
The app is currently available to be downloaded from app stores by searching for CellOPark but it will not go live until Smarter Parking starts to ensure a consistent rollout across the CBD.
Will the meters all be activated on the same day?
Our commitment is to turn on the meters in February, we hope to do this all at once but will turn them on as they are able.
What options are there for people who are unable to download the app?
There will still be meters on the street to enable people to choose to pay with card, cash and app
Will there be any way to park in the CBD without an app?
Yes, there will be meters on the street that have cash and/or card options
What functions does the app have? Will people who move their cars have to enter in a new location?
The motorist simply presses start on the app when they park and stop when they leave regardless of where they park within the on-street paid parking zone.
The Smarter Parking site notes 'you can top up at any meter' - how does this work?
All you have to do is enter your car registration number at any on-street meter and you will be able to top up your time using coins, and/or card.
How does moving a car work once the first free hour is up? If I'm parked in a two-hour zone at 9am, then have to move my car before 11am to a different zone until before 1pm, would I have to re-enter details on the app?
Within Zone 1 there are NO time restrictions. You can stay as long as you like and simply pay for the time you are there. You can move around within Zone 1 and not have to restart your time. Remember you only get your 1 hour free for the first time you park.
I'm parked in Zone 2 performing emergency open heart surgery when time runs out for my three-hour car park. Is there a level of leniency for people who are unable to move their cars for serious reasons?
As with the current system, Zone 2 provides for 1, 2, 3, 4hr and all day parking. It is up to the driver to choose the most appropriate park however, an appeals process is available to those who wish to appeal a parking infringement, this remains unchanged.
Are there any different charges for concession card holders or pensioners?
No - this is unchanged
How do infringement notices work?
As per current system
Will there be staff on-foot putting paper tickets on cars?
Yes, this will still be the predominant method for infringements as is current practice.
Will parking tickets arrive in the mail?
In some circumstances, infringements are posted out. This happens for a variety of reasons and is part of the current parking process.
How will people know they've been fined?
As per the current process, by either a ticket on the windscreen, a ticket handed to the driver or it posted to the registered vehicles address.
Will there be alerts in the app if time is running out?
This is an option via the CellOPark app
Will people have to pay extra for those alerts?
Yes, they will have to pay for the premium app which is $1.99 a month.
Is the app compatible with other councils? I have PayStay for the City of Yarra, for example, is the app different or will Ballarat begin to show up as well?
No, the app is a CellOPark app, not a PayStay app. For example, CellOPark is in Warrnambool so can be used there also.
How much is it to park on the street for a day in the CBD?
If you stay on street from 9 - 5:30 it will cost a total of $22.50, however you can choose to park at on off-street car park for $6.50 per day.
How much are infringement notices?
Infringement notices will remain at the current rate and vary depending on the type of infringement. The standard infringement (not paying for parking) is $76.
If I do need to move my car, does it need to be to a different street entirely in Zone 1?
You can move anywhere within Zone 1 whilst you have valid paid parking. You no longer need to move your car in zone 1 as there are NO time restrictions.
Can I move my car to a different block on the same street in Zone 1 and still be covered if it's within the time limit?
Would I be fined in Zone 2 if I move my car over the road?
As long as you leave the area, you are able to park across the road when you come back.
How far away do I have to move my car to avoid fines?
As long as you leave the area, you are able to come back to the same area later on.
How do the number plate scanning vehicles work?
Licence Plate Recognition (LPR) vehicles scan, mark and photograph a vehicles location, not dissimilar to the chalk and walk method currently used but with more reliable and efficient technology.
Do the number plate scanning vehicles only work on cars parked at 90 degree angles?
NO, it works on all angles
Do the number plate scanning vehicles work on cars parked bumper-to-bumper (as some people tend to do)?
YES and it is illegal to park closer than 1meter to another vehicle.
Do the number plate scanning vehicles issue fines, or do they alert staff on-foot about potential infringements?
They alert the driver and passenger who will either get out and perform their duties or in some cases it can be posted.
Will I get infringement notices in the mail by surprise?
If you park illegally, you should assume you will receive a ticket, if not on the day then in the post.
How many infringement notices can I receive in one day?
1 per offence
How many days can I receive infringement notices in a row?
Everyday you commit an offence.
How will officers know when I arrived in a car park?
Officers as per normal will be walking the streets and in the LPR vehicles and will identify vehicles who have not registered and paid for their parking in Zone 1 and who have overstayed in Zone 2 or who have committed any other parking offences.
I've been parked for two hours, a LPR car's gone past, I've left and come back to the same spot - how will the LPR car know that I've moved? In Zone 2, does it come down to visually double checking chalk marks?
The LPR vehicles have a proven inbuilt technology that means there won't need to be physical chalking.
Have underground sensors been installed in town?
Does the sign that reads 'P - METER 9-5' mean paid all-day parking?
Are there plans for Park and Ride in the city - ie shuttles from the Creswick Road car park into town?
This was identified as something to explore as part of the consultation but as yet this has not been further developed.
Let's use an example! Webster Street is out of Zone 1- I'm parked on Webster Street in the two hour zone in front of the Courier from 9am. At 10.55am, I diligently move my car to a three hour zone a couple of blocks away, still on Webster Street, then about 1.45pm, I move my car to a different three hour zone on the other side of Webster Street before I head home at 5pm. Have I done anything wrong?
No, you have left each area before reparking to do this.
A different example! I am parked on Webster Street in a two hour zone from 9am, then I have to drive to a council photo shoot at 10am. I return at 11am and park in the exact same place, in the exact same spot, for another two hours, when I have to drive to another job. Would I be fined if an inspector on-foot chalked my car at 9.45am and returned to see me apparently still parked in the same spot at 11.45am - even though I've moved since?
You left the area therefore you are legally able to park back in that spot.
A third example! My business is in the CBD and I have to drive to work every day. I managed to find a two hour car park quite close, and after cheering my success, I open the app. How do I not get fined across the day? How many times would I have to move my car or pay through the app for a 9-5 day?
There are NO on-street paid 2hr spots, they are all unrestricted time, if you are working all day, you pay for that when you arrive. If you need to top up throughout the day, you can at any meter or through the app.
What's next for the Smarter Parking plan once the meters are installed?
The Smarter Parking Plan is an iterative plan designed to adapt to the changing CBD and surrounds. Initially the focus will be on education of the new process. It also gives us time to look at other modes of transport, eg buses.
Will there be an expansion of Zone 1 or 2?
As the city grows, then yes there may be changes but this will be determined on evidence based assessments.
When will the system be reviewed?
It will constantly be reviewed as was the commitment to Council and the Community.
Are there plans to change the map - ie moving zones?
How much is council spending on this plan, including infrastructure, marketing and comms, and new vehicles?
This is detailed in the 2019/20 budget
Are there any new jobs?
No new jobs and more importantly no job losses
Is this plan expected to increase revenue for the city?
Given this is a significant change to how parking works, we don't know yet. It is ultimately determined by the compliance rate.
Are there plans for more new free car parks in the city?
Eastern Oval is currently under construction and will be free. Also we are still waiting to see how the State Govt will roll out their commitment to 1000 free CBD carparks.
Are there plans for more new paid car parks in the city?
We are not aware of any new off street paid car parks.
How do people with disability permits interact with the system?
This system has not changed for people with a blue disability permit, they must still display their permit on their dash, that is all.
How do the licence plate scanning vehicles work with disability permits?
The system will notify the officers that there is a vehicle that has not paid, the officer will then do a visual inspection to check for a permit.
Will people with disability permits still get double time in disability car parks?
Can people with a disability permit park in other car parks without penalty?
I'm using my disability permit in a car that is not my own, how will the licence plate scanning vehicle see I hold a permit?
The permit is attached to a person as opposed to a vehicle, so as long as the permit is clearly displayed there will have no concerns.
How does the app work with company cars?
The app allows multiple vehicles to be registered within the app. This will be at companies' discretion on how they do this.
Will people driving company cars parking in Zone 1 be unable to use the app?
No, see above.
How safe will our data be? How long does Council hold onto licence plate location data?
All data is managed by the third party (CellOPark) and is compliant with all relevant legislation and Council privacy and data policy.
It will only hold onto the data for the purpose of infringement management and ongoing court matters.
Will location data from the app be used in any way by council, other than enforcement?
Will usage data be anonymised?
The app meets all Australian standards and the data can only be used for the purposes of the Road Safety Act.
Can businesses apply for short term parking permits - for example, couriers or security firms park at different places all day in the CBD for very short times, is there an option for a permit?
Is council confident in the Cellopark app?
Were there any focus groups or similar consultation that recommended the app, or was it chosen through the tender process?
A very rigorous tender process that saw over 14 different providers.
In what circumstances would you get a ticket in the mail instead of on your car?
Post-outs are a legal form of issuing infringements and is done now. The most common reason for a post-out is around school crossings, where it is either not safe to get out of the vehicle or in high traffic areas.
Can you go into more detail on the appeal process for people who genuinely believe they have a grievance?
Anyone can appeal a parking infringement via the website or in writing. People may also select to have the infringement heard via the Magistrates' Court. This is unchanged from the existing process.
Are businesses allowed to place "reserved" parking cones in front of their businesses in what appears to be public on-street car parks?
Can you confirm the four-hour parking zones in front of the Ballarat Law Courts on Grenville Street South (and the row of similar four-hour parks in the Bridge Mall car park) are now under the broader zone 1 rules - one hour free then $3 an hour?
Yes, those parking zones will be replaced by 1 hour free parking, and $3 an hour after that.