Petersen calls for free CBD parking to revitalise precinct
THE Ipswich CBD will remain a ghost town until free parking in the city is increased.
That is the view of Ipswich mayoral candidate Patricia Petersen after she surveyed over 100 residents about what they believe is the major impediment to a revitalised CBD.
The main reason Ipswich people gave Ms Petersen for not going into the CBD was lack of free parking.
"I had a number of questions and they were designed so that people just didn't give 'yes' or 'no' answers," Ms Petersen said.
"I asked them questions about why they didn't go into the CBD and what they wanted.
"Many business owners and people working in the shops had told me the main reason people don't go into the CBD is because of a lack of free parking.
"In my survey people were very concerned there was nowhere they can park for free, whereas they can go to Winston Glades, Riverlink, Booval and elsewhere where they go for a coffee, relax and in the case of some centres go to a movie.
"In the CBD they go to the doctors but if their appointment is running late or goes for more than an hour they come out and are slapped with a parking fine.
"That is off putting for people and is not relaxing for people.
"The message I got loud and clear is people want to go into the city and relax, wander around the shops and maybe go to the art gallery without having to pay for parking."
Ms Petersen said the issue of not being able to catch more suitable public transport was also raised.
She said the CBD should be a special case when it comes to free parking so that it can regenerate and be as attractive to patrons as other shopping precincts were.
"I think it was a mistake to ask people to pay for parking in Ipswich Square after three hours," she said.
"I know there was a problem with people parking there and then getting on the train, going to Brisbane and workers coming back and collecting their cars.
"But I think the solution would have been to increase the free parking in the CBD, not to say to people they can't park there and catch a train.
"People leaving their cars and taking the train to Brisbane meant they weren't clogging up the highway.
"But I still think the solution was to increase the free parking in the city so they can go shopping before or after work, or stop after work and have a drink."
Dr Petersen said that the problem of the CBD can only be addressed if the people of Ipswich are listened to.
"There's no point or virtue in blaming the CBD business owners for lack of business. There are serious and real reasons as to why people aren't going into the CBD and we need to continue to explore what those reasons are and respond to them," she said.
"After speaking with over one hundred Ipswich residents, it's clear that until people's desires and wants are met, the CBD will remain a ghost town.
"Telling business owners or potential patrons that they don't have a right to feel the way they feel, want what they want or desire what they desire isn't helpful.
"There is only one legitimate course of action to be adopted in relation to the CBD and that is to listen to people and actively respond to their concerns," she said.
"There is a wonderful opportunity to invigorate the CBD, to beautify it and to turn it into a thriving hub of social, cultural and economic activity. However, in order to do this, we simply must listen to the people and do what they want us to do."
Top 10 Reasons Ipswich people gave Patricia Petersen for not going into Ipswich CBD
1. There is no free parking in most parts of the CBD.
2. There is only three-hour free parking in one part of the CBD and I don't want to have to worry about moving my car after three hours.
3. If I park in metered parking in the CBD, I then have to worry about moving my car constantly or I'll get a parking ticket.
4. There are no major stores in the CBD - no David Jones, Myers, Kmart or Target.
5. Most of the shops in the CBD are empty.
6. The CBD, particularly the Mall, is unattractive.
7. There is smoking and anti-social behaviour in the CBD.
8. There is nothing to see or do in the CBD.
9. There are no attractive parts of the CBD where I can sit outside and enjoy a coffee or eat dinner.
10. There is no public transport to get me into the CBD if I want to leave my car at home.