ACT News

Public servants invade Yarralumla and board buses to escape paid parking

It only took a day for savvy public servants to find a loophole in the paid parking regime, thanks to treasured yet makeshift car parks on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin.

Canberra Yacht Club manager Matthew Owen said his members might find it a little tough to nab a park in the usually serene pocket of Yarralumla as public servants hunt for new and ideally free parking spots.

Cars parked near Lotus Bay in Yarralumla on the second day of pay parking in the Parliamentary triangle.
Cars parked near Lotus Bay in Yarralumla on the second day of pay parking in the Parliamentary triangle. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

"I drove in this morning at 7.45am and there was a heap of cars already parked down at the Lotus Bay launching ramp," he said.

"A lot of the cars had bikes on the back and people were putting on their runners getting ready to hike to work."

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Mr Owen said the park, usually used by just a couple of people launching boats, had up to 50 cars on the first day of paid parking in the parliamentary triangle.

"There's also another little park behind the Hyatt Hotel that was absolutely packed with cars too," he said.

A National Capital Authority spokeswoman said she was aware a large number of cars had flocked to the Yarralumla shores and had been in contact with the Office of Regulatory Services.

"We've seen a big decrease in the number of people using the parking spaces over the last couple of days so they're either changing their behaviours or finding somewhere else to park," she said.

"We knew people would naturally go to these areas once paid parking came into effect, so it's not something that has come as a surprise to us."

The spokeswoman said signs had been erected between Hopetoun Circuit and Flynn Drive advising people not to park in breach of regulations. 

Paid parking has already had an impact on public transport numbers with Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury confirming more people have been travelling on Canberra's buses.  

On Wednesday an additional 525 passengers arrived at bus stops in the Parliamentary Triangle in the morning peak period compared to the week before. 

There was an additional 500 boardings in the afternoon peak period on the same day. 

The first day of paid parking fell during the school holiday period, which could have influenced the results. 

"The initial results are promising and a full analysis on the impact will be conducted once school term services recommence to understand the changes that may have been influenced by paid parking," the spokeswoman said. 

Meanwhile in the parliamentary triangle, parking inspectors are already hunting for those overstaying their welcome or not paying at all.

While they've been given a mandate from the National Capital Authority to hold drivers accountable, it seems it's slim pickings so far.

You could have parked a semitrailer truck in some of the vacant spaces in the usually busy car park between the John Gorton building and the AFP headquarters earlier this week, 

The NCA spokeswoman was not able to detail how many infringements had been issued so far but said the policy had achieved the goal of freeing up parks in the parliamentary zone. 

"There were definitely less cars in the car parks than normal this morning [Wednesday], but this is the first day and I don't think it will remain at this level," she said.

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