The City of Ballarat's new parking plan rollout continues to raise issues as it enters its second week.
Businesses and healthcare providers around the hospital precinct have questioned why more coin-operated machines were not installed in the area.
Feedback from readers to The Courier has almost consistently shown concern for people that do not use cards or smartphones, and thus will be unable to use the majority of the new meters.
COUNCIL'S MAP OF PARKING METERS
The Courier understands about two thirds of the new meters are card-only - these only allow people to use a tap-and-go payment system.
The council's map of parking meters shows there are currently none on Mair Street east of Drummond Street.
More meters are on their way, and are expected to be installed and activated by February 17.
"Coin machines are spread throughout the Smarter Parking network to provide for convenience to those motorists who wish to use coins," according to a council media response.
"The advantage of the new coin meters is that you do not need to return to your vehicle after you have paid for your car parking, rather you just walk to the nearest coin meter in your preferred direction, register your vehicle and go about your business."
City of Ballarat mayor Ben Taylor said to The Courier last week the majority of transactions in the first few days of the new regime were card-only, and feedback during public consultation sessions indicated more people wanted to be able to use their cards to pay for parking.
According to council's media release, the new parking plan was the biggest community consultation project ever undertaken by the city, and is ongoing.
"Commerce Ballarat and the City of Ballarat continue to speak to businesses in the CBD every week. Prior to the plan, there was community consultations done throughout the city that were advertised throughout many different platforms including radio, television and print. There was community consultations done with Commerce Ballarat and the Bridge Mall Traders Association, and there was a Smarter Parking shop in Sturt Street for six weeks, where the community could come and have their say," the media response states.
"City of Ballarat representatives also based themselves at the Ballarat Health Services, ACU and the Bridge Mall, where they hosted more community consultation sessions. They also hosted a full day consultation workshop at Craig's Royal Hotel.
"All businesses were welcome to participate in the consultation process, and many did accept this invitation."
This is strongly disputed by businesses - several people The Courier spoke to last week noted they had spent time outside their shops trying to help people use the machines.
While some users have had wins - the Ballarat City Senior Citizens Club, for example, now has a set of its own reserved car parks, and hotels along Lydiard Street will have 10-minute parks for checking in and loading within the week - retailers are continuing to note the disruption to their businesses.
One letter to The Courier, from a small business, notes the exorbitant cost of parking a delivery van in front of their own shop.
Parking meters surrounding the hospital have "temporarily unavailable" on their screens, adding to the confusion, while residents have also noted the difficulty in finding a meter at the Eastwood Street car park - while parking is still free for two hours in the supermarket car park, people can now pay to park all day if they wish.
"Signage will be installed prior to the meters becoming active," according to council.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Parking continues to inspire confusion and dismay
"There will be five car parking meters in the Eastwood Street car park and people will be able to see a meter from every direction they turn."
People will still need to enter their number plate in the meter, or activate the app.
Parking inspectors in blue shirts are currently wandering the CBD to help people, council adds.
On-street parking within the CBD is free for the first hour and $3 for every hour afterwards - this is paid for minute-by-minute on the app until the user hits stop, or in half-hour increments on the parking meters, according to the City of Ballarat.
Forgetting to hit stop on the app would charge the user for the rest of the day, but stops at 5.30pm - the maximum charge is $22.50 per day.
Off-street parking, at various locations, is capped at $6.50 per day.
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