A CARR STREET resident says Vincent council hid the fact 19 car parking bays are to be removed to make way for a bike path upgrade.
In November last year the council sent a letter to 615 residents and businesses extolling the plan to add protected bike lanes to Carr Street, later sending a second round to non-resident owners who complained of being left out.
It only got 34 responses, but Lucy Booth reckons more people would have lodged objections if the council had been upfront about the loss of 19 of the 73 parking bays on their busy stretch of the street.
To learn about the disappearing bays, a recipient had to type out a URL included in the letter to go to the council’s website.
“This cannot be called consultation,” Ms Booth says. “I am required to consult with employees as part of my professional work. This requirement includes explaining to people the impact of any changes. The council did not meet this simple requirement in their consultation.”
Ms Booth said the map on the website, with “bikes the size of ants” was so tiny it was still unclear which bays would be removed.
“It is insulting. They have the technology and funds to create accurate maps of the impact if they wanted to.”
A staff report to the council’s March 17 meeting says the $300,000 protected bike lane barriers will be safer for cyclists than the existing painted line, and will improve the east-west bike network.
The report also suggests pushing ahead because $150,000 is from a WA Department of Transport grant with a June 2020 deadline.
The staff report says losing the funding may “negatively impact on future funding opportunities”.
The council’s latest survey shows 57 per cent of the car bays on Carr Street between Florence and Charles Streets are used in the evening, but they’re packed on weekends.
Between Charles and Fitzgerald Streets it’s much squishier; evening occupancy is about 85 per cent, and other times of day aren’t much better.
At the March 10 councillor briefing, Cr Josh Topelberg asked staff: “Did we ever get to the bottom of the 615 letters that only got received by a few people?”
A council officer answered: “I can’t explain why some people didn’t receive them, but we did print and faithfully deliver the 600-and-something outlined in the report.”
Mayor Emma Cole asked several questions on notice, including wanting to know how many residents rely on on-street parking, and asking staff to look at how the council’s parking philosophy aligned with the bay occupancy rates.
Disclosure: This bike-riding reporter lives within the consultation zone about 300m from the affected area, and usually reads council mail pretty carefully on the hunt for stories, and does not have any memory of receiving this letter.
by DAVID BELL