Parking woes and delivery access at Little Bourke St on council agenda

Parking woes and delivery access at Little Bourke St on council agenda
Brendan Rees

The City of Melbourne will consider access to off-street car parking and the need for traders to receive deliveries in Little Bourke St as it looks to increase safety.

The proposal was made at the council’s Future Melbourne Committee meeting on March 7 after a resident raised a question about whether the council was aware of the “pedestrian problem” which they described as a “bit out of control” between Russell and Swanston streets.

They pointed to incidents of women pushing prams while “trying to get around oncoming traffic [and] cyclists everywhere”.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said more off-street car parking was part of council talks in “how available infrastructure can be more fairly shared between the various modes of transport”.

The entirety of Little Bourke St is a shared zone (pedestrian-friendly streets) and has a speed limit of 20km/h while laneways off Little Bourke St have a 10km/h speed limit.

Many delivery drivers told CBD News that they would welcome any proposal to improve access to loading zone parking as Little Bourke St was prone to being “chaotic”.

Delivery driver, John, who asked not to use his surname, said it was not uncommon for him to drive around in circles “for up to an hour if not more” finding a parking space.

When he spoke to CBD News on a Thursday morning in March, he said he had no option but to park in a bus zone on Little Bourke St as two tradie vehicles had parked in a loading zone.

“God knows how long they’ve been there and how long they’re going to be there,” he said, adding “that’s the major problem we have.”

He conceded parking in a bus zone was “not right but I have no choice”.

Another truck driver Rick, who also asked not to use his surname, said he used Little Bourke St to make up to 10 deliveries a day, but had to contend with vehicles illegally parking across loading docks or in loading zones for longer than the permitted times.

“I’ve had tow trucks getting people who are removed,” he said. “Something needs to be done 100 per cent, especially with enforcing parking zones.

“I have to deliver here; I’ve got no option. I sit in the middle of the road until it clears.

“I cause some of the chaos because I’ve got no other option.”

Another delivery driver, Rick, said despite paying the council $500 a year for a parking permit on Swanston St, he was sometimes left to “go around and around” for 20 minutes before he found a park elsewhere.

Sidharth Joseph, a pharmacist assistant at Chemist Warehouse on Bourke St, said their delivery driver regularly had to park on Little Bourke St because of a lack of on-street parking closer to their store.

It meant he and other staff members had to wheel heavily loaded roll cages of stock to their store nearly a block away, which was “inconvenient for us and the delivery driver”.

Victoria Walks executive officer Ben Rossiter said with nearly 90 per cent of transport trips being made on foot within the Hoddle Grid, shared zones had “definitely been a step in the right direction”.

“The next step might be a redesign of these ‘Little’ streets so they can reach their full, vibrant potential, so people walking feel safe and unhurried and can experience all that Melbourne has to offer,” he said. •

Sidharth Joseph, a pharmacist assistant at Chemist Warehouse, loads up stock in a roll cage trolley a block away from their store.

Pedestrians make their way around kerbside works.

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