Our local government has come up with yet another way to get us to pay – paying to park. An explanation after the jump.
Paid street parking operations have been in operation in Braamfontein and Jo’burg CBD since December 2010. The Jo’burg municipality now wants to introduce these tolls into the following suburbs: Norwood, Melville, Brixton, Emmarentia, Rosebank, Roodepoort, Birnam, Parkview, Sandton, Florida, Fordsburg, Greenside, Linden, Rivonia, Craighall Park and Northcliff and has already been introduced into Parkhurst.
Naturally, Jo’burg residents are outraged, especially as this was all announced when eTolls were approaching like a runaway truck. Residents were not consulted, the government was taxing us yet again and that gremlin of the government program – tender irregularities.
The idea is fairly cool. Making people pay for parking, in 15 min increments, encourages people to shop faster in order to get out of the area rather than loitering around. This frees up the parking spots for more patrons to come and shop in the area. If you plan to be in the area the entire day you are encouraged to find alternative parking, such as a multi-storey car park. It’s not a totally bad idea.
The basics are easy to work out:
- No public consultation – do residents agree that there is too much traffic in their area and paid parking will help thin this out?
- Tender regulations – the toll agency is sub-contracting the operation without notifying the council. This is against the Ts&Cs of their contract
- Pay, pay pay, pay – We pay tax on EVERYTHING. We are starting to reach breaking point in terms of paying to have things which are freely available. The government has not yet developed a reasonable model to tax the air, but as we saw in The Lorax, it is potentially possible.
One of the more complex issues comes to town planning. Parking in a multi-storey is fine in the CBD, as you park once and everything you want or need is within 10 mins walk. This is not true for the suburbs. It is also not feasible for consumer behavior in the suburbs.
For instance, in Parkhurst there are lots of lovely restaurants and pubs. If one was to enjoy a nice lunch at the Jolly Roger with a few friends you would have to pay approximately R24 per car to park there – that is at R8/h, the current rate, for 3hrs of lunch. It’s insane.
Businesses suffer, residents suffer (if their friends visit, they are made to pay), and the economy suffers when the businesses suffer.
Is there no other system to regulate the traffic and parking issues in these areas?