Parking will be free at one of Ballarat's busiest car parks after the City of Ballarat backed down on one portion of its controversial parking plan.
The Eastwood Street car park, which accommodates Coles and Woolworths (among other businesses), will now be free for two hours.
It will no longer fall under the Smarter Parking Plan, with the meters and signs to be removed this week. They will instead be installed elsewhere in the city.
Absolute Yoga and Pilates studio owner Tracey Hargreaves, whose business is in the Coles end of the precinct, said it was great this car park issue was rectified and made clearer for her clients.
But Ms Hargreaves said there was always going to be teething issues, there still seemed to be too much confusion on parking about the city.
Signs went up near the yoga studio on Friday declaring the first two hours' parking were free in the Little Bridge Street/Eastwood Street car park - only this did not stipulate this was only if a vehicle had not already used up its free parking quota elsewhere in zone one.
"At the end of the day, if you can't explain parking on a simple sign then that's probably an indication this plan is not ready," Ms Hargreaves said.
Outspoken on parking plan issues, Ms Hargreaves was also concerned such confusion exacerbated inequities for the city's most vulnerable road users including the elderly, people with disabilities and lower socioeconomic status.
Council said in a statement there would be no fines issued in the Eastwood Street car park until the removal of the meters was completed.
After this, the two-hour time restriction will be enforced through regular patrols of the car park by the City of Ballarat's license recognition vehicles.
City of Ballarat mayor Ben Taylor conceded parking meters in the Eastwood Street precinct were confusing for people in how these were positioned.
Cr Taylor said the area had a blanket two hours' parking but people could also park on the surrounding street and get the first hour free before paying $3 an hour.
"Family, friends, and the general community have made it clear that here the meters are perhaps too sparse from a visibility point of view," Cr Taylor said. "We made the decision to remove those meters in this area and continue to have it as two-hour parking which is free."
Cr Taylor urged people to not shy away from the new plan and to keep an open mind about trying the city's parking system.
"The benefit of this plan is it has live data, it has the ability to be flexible with it, especially with the app, and we're working with the provider with the app to look at flexibility and how we can do things differently," Cr Taylor said. "Give it a go, don't shy away from the CBD, (the system) provides so much more flexibility."
City of Ballarat infrastructure director Terry Demeo confirmed the five parking metres in the Eastwood Street car park would be removed by the week's end.
All five metres take coins and card for parking and will be re-positioned about the city in what Mr Demeo said would help offer greater flexibility for the network.
There had previously been numerous complaints and confusion around the Eastwood Street car park, from both residents and businesses.