Free parking for residents

STIRLING residents living in congested streets will be able to apply for free parking permits under a new city-wide scheme.

A council committee wanted to charge residents $25 a year for a permit, but the council eventually voted to issue them for free, and to review the scheme after 12 months. A free transitional permit will also be available for a maximum of 12 months, with a replacement costing $30.

Cr Rod Willox argued the permits should be free: “Why should residents have to pay for the privilege of parking in front of their own house?”  he said.

“There is a perception amongst the public that this would be a revenue-raising device. I agree with the replacement charge to cover admin, but not an annual fee.”

But Cr David Boothman said not charging would discourage residents from using public transport: “We are trying to encourage people to use public transport, but this gives them an excuse to buy another car and park it outside their house,” he says.

Cr Bill Stewart said public transport was not up to the job: “In Stirling, public transport is useless,” he says.

Council officers say the passes will not be handed out willy-nilly: “The…policy will provide an avenue to enable residents living in high-demand parking locations, who do not have sufficient parking on private property, to park on the thoroughfare near their residence.”

The scheme was originally designed to help residents living in and around the busy Glendalough Rail Station after paid parking was introduced. Neighbouring councils do not charge for residential parking permits.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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