Shop owners are up in arms over a move to remove up to 14 parking spaces on the eastern side of the Caringbah shopping strip to provide an extra right-turn lane from Kingsway into President Avenue.
They rejected a traffic study's finding that sufficient parking existed in the nearby council car park and surrounding streets.
Cronulla MP and Attorney-General Mark Speakman said he would seek to have the plans modified to save some of the parking spaces.
Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) is proposing the changes to improve traffic flow and reduce delays at the intersection of Kingsway and President Avenue.
“Road users currently experience delays when travelling through the intersection during peak periods due to lengthy queues on the eastbound right turning bay,” RMS said.
The changes include:
- Duplication of the right turn lane from Kingsway into President Avenue.
- Removal of up to 14 restricted parking spaces on the eastbound lane on Kingsway between the railway station and traffic lights at President Avenue.
- Banning the right turn from Hay Avenue into Kingsway, except for buses.
- Modification of the traffic island at the intersection of President Avenue and Kingsway.
- Removal of a loading zone and relocation of the mail zone.
RMS said an independent parking analysis, completed in March this year, “showed sufficient parking exists in the area for business customers and local residents in the nearby council car park, as well as the surrounding streets, including Denman Avenue, Hays (sic) Avenue and Banksia Road”.
Cincotta Discount Chemist owner Ian Dodd said, since the opening of the Highfield Caringbah hotel in December last year, customers were often finding it very hard to get parking.
“The traffic study must have been done before the hotel opened,” he said.
“At night, the council car park is often full, and people are driving round and round the block looking for a parking spot.
“I think they need a clearway in the afternoon peak, but removing parking altogether is just not warranted.”
Simple Simon Pies owner Kurt Bieder said the RMS plans were “absurd”.
Mr Bieder said parking was “already minimal” and many of his customers relied on getting a spot outside his shop.
He said, on Monday, his wife was coming to work in the shop and couldn’t find a parking spot closer than near Mr Paisleys cafe at North Caringbah.
“There is also a safety issue involved,” he said.
“There will still be a bus stop next to the traffic lights , and cars will be burning up the gutter lane trying to get in ahead of the bus.
“At times, there are 50-60 school kids milling10 deep on the footpath, pushing and shoving, and they will be in great deal of danger.”
Cafe on Kingsway owner Joe Azar is submitting a letter signed by a large group of shop owners protesting at the proposal.
Mark Speakman said he was generally supportive of a second right-turn lane into President Avenue because of the traffic back-up.
“Unfortunately, that’s probably going to to involve some loss of parking spaces on Kingsway,” he said.
“[Those spaces] represent a pretty small proportion of overall parking in Caringbah.
“However, I will ask RMS not to take any parking spaces between the train station and Hay Avenue.”
Mr Speakman said the eastbound section of Kingsway between Hay Avenue and President Avenue was already designated No Stopping in the afternoon peak, and at all times beyond that to Mackay Street..
He believed that if the entire section from Hay Avenue to Mackay Street was No Stopping at all times, there would be scope to provide a second right-turn lane into President Avenue.
Mr Speakman said figures provided by Roads Minister Melinda Pavey’s office revealed available parking in Caringbah CBD included Hay Ave (28 spaces), Banksia Road (130 spaces), Mackay Street (18 spaces) and Mackay Street car park (120 spaces).
“If 14 parking spaces were removed, this represents 5 per cent of the total parking spaces within the area,” he said.
Mr Speakman said, on top of the figures from Ms Pavey’s office, there was also parking in the rest of the Kingsway, Port Hacking Road, Mansfield Avenue and President Avenue, in the council car park near the library and in the Coles car park.
Once those spaces were added, the loss of 14 spaces was well less than 5 per cent of total spaces, he said.
Mr Speakman said he was also generally supportive of an afternoon peak clearway eastbound through the entire shopping strip, starting at Taren Point Road.
“I do not see the need for a westbound clearway through the shopping centre,” he said.
“However, westbound, I favour a longer morning peak period No Parking time between Taren Point Road and Willarong Road.
“Although afternoon peak and Sunday afternoon No Parking was introduced last year, the morning peak is still only 6.30am to 8.30am.”