Sunbury parking woes bad for business

Cr Adem Atmaca and Marnie Harding


The long-term carpark at Sunbury train station is full to capacity well before the shops open.

The early arrivals leave retail workers and shoppers to battle it out for limited short-term spaces, which curtails retail activities and forces workers to regularly shift their vehicles.

Now Hume council has taken up retailers’ calls for the state government to urgently increase parking at the station and give business a break.

The council says overwhelming demand is also stopping some people from accessing train services. Parking problems have worsened in recent years, with the addition of Metro trains in 2012 leading to a large increase in passenger numbers.

While extra parking was added at the time of electrification, Sunbury Business Association (SBA) vice-president Marnie Harding said supply was not keeping up with demand.

The station has 550 parking spaces, and the council provides 100 more spaces for commuters – despite this being a government responsibility.

‘‘Business owners and commuters are fighting daily for these parks,’’ Ms Harding said. ‘‘It’s either get it for the train or get it for your business, because once these are full there’s nowhere else.’’

The problem isn’t restricted to weekdays, with the town often gridlocked by parking and traffic problems at weekends.

Ms Harding said extra spaces at the station would give businesses long-term parking options. She said the SBA received frequent complaints about the flow-on effect of the parking shortfall on business.

‘‘We’re frustrated,’’ Ms Harding said.

‘‘Because we’re going to experience such massive growth, they need to look at the whole parking issue.

‘‘People are willing to walk – they just don’t want to have to move their cars every two hours.’’

Mayor Adem Atmaca said the recent addition of two extra Metro services, with the promise of more to come, would put more pressure on already stretched parking areas.

‘‘Latest figures show that 2.7 million passengers travel on the train between Sunbury and Keilor Plains stations each year, and patronage has grown by 25 per cent in the past two years alone,’’ Cr Atmaca said.

‘‘The population of Sunbury will almost double by 2036, and it’s vital to progressively increase space for car parking to support generations of young families.’’

Cr Atmaca said Sunbury’s parking was a regional issue.

‘‘You have people who don’t live in Sunbury but drive here to get more frequent services.

‘‘That will only increase because you’ve got such growth in the surrounding suburbs and towns.’’

A spokesman for Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the government had a $20 million plan to boost commuter parking.

‘‘Any opportunities to expand parking at Sunbury will be identified as part of that process,’’ the spokesman said.