Lane Cove Parking – Is it ever going to get any better?

Today ITC was in the Lane Cove Market  Square car-park and watched as a lovely senior citizen struggled with the ticketless car parking system. The driver didn’t think she had exceeded the three hour car parking limit.   She was out of her car and trying to contact the operator. Meanwhile the cars behind her were piling up.  ITC stepped in to help the driver. We tried to contact the operator to establish if she was over the three hours. This should have been a quick question and then the boom gate would go up or she would need to pay.  As they say in the classics, “how hard could this be?”

Well it is very hard to speak to the operator, when you contact them and you go straight to ON HOLD music.

This is ridiculous, and even more ridiculous, when I cast my mind back to helping out another person on Friday 13 March 2015. When we tried to contact the operator (because the lady had been in the carpark twice that day both times for under 30 minutes and was being charged for parking) the operator assist button went to a mobile phone and the message stated “the number you are calling is not available”. ITC contacted the council about the issue and this response was received from the Lane Cove Council:

“Just following up on the issue you raised with the intercom in Market Square last Friday. Council had not received any recent reports from the public about the intercom service so followed up based on your enquiry. The contractors confirmed they were aware of a faulty intercom and had been in the process of installing a new service – evidently they themselves had difficulties with suppliers and as such were using interim communication systems. The supplier clarified that they are likely to implement a new PBX system later this week …”

ITC spoke to the operator of the ticketless parking system Mr Vaso Stojackovic of Ybern Ticketless Parking.  He advised ITC that they were having problems with their phone provider and there was only one line into the carpark, he said they were trying to remedy the situation.

Mr Stojackovic went to great lengths to explain to ITC that any delay in cars exiting the car-park were not due to his system, the fault was with the design of the car-park.  The case study set out in detail  on the site on the Lane Cove Market Square Car Park is an interesting read:  Here are some of the highlights (you can read the full case study here).

Thirteen industry suppliers of parking ticket systems were invited to quote for the Market Square Car Park. …Providers of ticketed car parking systems declined on the basis that it was ‘too difficult’ or ‘impossible’ to install a ticket based car parking system at the Market Square site.

Why? The site parameters were very challenging.

  • The entry lane to the car park is only 25 metres. This is 119 metres short of the required length of entry lane for a ticket system under the Australian / New Zealand Standards for Off-Street Car Parking.
  • There is a pedestrian crossing at the entry lane. Frequently pedestrians step into the traffic flow from behind a wide structural pillar. Next to this are the trolley parking bays. A situation with clear pedestrian safety issues.
  • The exit lane is just 8 metres long with no apparent location for car park equipment.”

You may also like to watch the Channel Seven story on the system.

ITC queried  the following with Mr Stojackovic:

Why was the SMS System not implemented?  He said the Lane Cove Council decided not to implement the SMS reminder system. (By the way if you want to be reminded about how long you have parked there are several apps for that including apark Parking Alarm and Parking Meter pro – which also shows you where you have parked)

Why are charges applied after 6.00pm? (for example if you enter the car park at  5.55 pm and have dinner at Lane Cove or go to a function and stay more than 3 hours you are charged for parking) . Mr Stojackovic advised that the system could be programmed so that the charge would not apply.  He advised that the Lane Cove Council had not requested this option.

Why is there no leeway? (for example you get charged if you are one minute past the 3 hour limit.  This can happen if the trolly pick up tractor is parked behind you or someone is stopped at the boom gate). Mr Stojackovic advised there is a 15 minute leeway if you go to the machine on level 2 and type in your rego and then leave within 15 minutes of typing in your rego.
Mr Stojackovic advised that the average car parking space in Lane Cove Market Square turns over 15 times a day, this is the highest turnover rate for a single lane exit car park in Australia.

ITC requested that the Lane Cove Council review the system last year, particularly after the complaints to ITC about the Car Parking system had increased.  Unfortunately the report was conducted during the July School holidays.  Since that time the cameras seem to be working better and there appears to be faster recognition of your number plate.  However this has not stopped the issues at the boomgate. As ITC left the carpark today we were held up with another car having to ask for the boomgate to go up by the operator.

One can only hope that a single lane car park exit is not part of the design for the Little Street Carpark or Rosenthal Av Car Park.

ITC totally understands why there needs to be a time limit on car parking. However there is a need for long term car parking solution for the following:

  • Lane Cove Business Owners and their Employees; and
  • Lane Cove Residents who work in the city (but need to drop their children off to school or do not have a bus stop in close proximity or who work late and do not want to walk home from a bus stop in the dark)