Paying for Parking

Our local government has come up with yet another way to get us to paypaying 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

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 Issues

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?

One thought on “Paying for Parking

  1. Well stated Matt! I agree with the idea in principle. It works fairly well here in CT – especially in areas like Sea Point where there’s a lot of traffic in a small, busy area. It’s also a bit cheaper – only R5.00/hr and free after 17h00 and on weekends. In Joburg, as you so rightly state, the government is bleeding the population dry. I think government needs a serious wake-up call that we’re not cash cows that they can just leech from without consequence. The current state of the eTolls is testament to that: we’re tired of paying for everything short of air and are not taking much more of it. I’d very much like to know why (other than maintaining a high turnover of parking spaces) the government needs to tax the pavements now. Half of our fuel bill already goes to a vague definition of road construction and maintanence. But that money isn’t ringfenced – it’s just disappearing into the black hole of government corruption and tender fraud. Instead of moaning that there’s no money and that’s why they need to tax us even more, government needs to have their head pointed in the right direction: the mirror. That’s where they will find the money they’re looking for…

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