SPORTING fields, parks and reserves near northern beaches could become “pop-up parking” this summer as Wollongong City Council grapples with the growing problem of traffic congestion around Austinmer, Thirroul and Bulli.
A surge in visitors to prime foreshore locations, as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions on international travel, has made parking almost impossible around the more popular northern suburbs beaches in recent months.
Cr Tania Brown successfully submitted a motion to the Council on Monday calling for advise on whether pop-up parking opportunities are available near more congested beaches to alleviate pressures on the foreshore precincts of the city over 2020/21 summer, noting the particularly high traffic volume areas of Austinmer, Bulli, Thirroul, Stanwell Park, Port Kembla and the city precinct.
Wollongong City Council has been working on a foreshore parking strategy that is due to be completed by the end of this financial year, however Cr Brown said she believes ‘pop-up parking’ would provide a short-term solution to the problem.
Under the motion, the Council will also investigate the ability to quarantine a small number of parking spaces for Surf Life Saving volunteers and better promote the Gong Shuttle as a way to avoid parking congestion to city beaches.
Councillors voted to support the possibility of ‘pop-up parking’, with the exception of Ward One Cr Mithra Cox.
Cr Cox said allowing cars to park on parks and reserves, well-used by picnickers and other recreational uses, would be “a tragedy”.
“Anything that would put cars on those well used grassed areas would be a problem,” she said.
Cr Brown said any ‘pop-up parking’ opportunities would be carefully considered for appropriate areas, and properly managed.
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