The construction of an extra 80 car parking spaces at the Weston group centre will begin this financial year at a cost of $500,000.
An estimated extra $125,000 will fund the resurfacing of existing Cooleman Court parking, as part of the 2014-15 ACT budget.
The first of the two budget commitments will see long-term parking spaces added at Dillon Close and Liardet Street, with existing parks on Liardet Street converted to 90 degrees.
The upgrade will see two-hour time restrictions introduced at the Cooleman Court car parks and all-day parking moved to the group centre’s outlying streets to free up spaces closer to the shopping centre.
The works will also see a pedestrian crossing installed on Namatjira Drive near Dillon Close.
A portion of the extra car parking spots will be installed at the north Weston park and ride next to the Cotter Road and Kirkpatrick Street intersection.
The initial design of the parking changes was funded in last year’s territory budget and presented at Weston Creek Community Council’s March meeting.
The extra parking was a pre-2012 election commitment.
Minister for Territory and Municipal Services Shane Rattenbury said the project recognised the medium to long-term pressures at the centre as a result of the growing Molonglo Valley and extra patronage.
“The pressure is building already,’’ he said.
“[The changes] mean the people coming here to get their shopping done can find a space and they won’t be taken up by staff working in the centre.”
Weston Creek Community Council acting chairwoman Pat McGinn said finding a car park near the shops had become gradually more difficult as more and more people moved to Molonglo.
“If we can get [long-stay motorists] out of the short-term parking that is fantastic,’’ she said.
‘‘A lot of people who use the centre are quite elderly. The south car park is almost always nearly full. The north car park you can find spaces but it’s difficult at peak periods.
‘‘As Molonglo grows it’s going to get even worse because we’re the closest shopping centre.’’
She said publicity and the co-operation of centre management and shop owners to ensure their employees parked in the correct areas was crucial to the success of the changes.
Meanwhile, asphalt resurfacing work is proposed for the Commons Court car park off Liardet Street.
Mr Rattenbury said Cooleman Court was one of several melting car parks in Canberra during last summer’s extreme heat.
“Cooleman Court had just been done in December and it was still soft and because it takes a while to harden up, it was particularly vulnerable during that heat wave, so we got some damage there,” he said.
“The surface wasn’t conducive of pushing trolleys around which is obviously a problem at a shopping centre.”
Ms McGinn said the initial car park resurfacing was a disaster but ACT Roads had been very responsive to community concern.