Johannesburg - It was introduced as a way of managing and controlling urban space, but all that paid parking is alleged to have done is drive many businesses in Joburg into the ground.
At a meeting at the Parkhurst Recreation Centre yesterday, executive mayor Parks Tau listened as residents and business owners on the popular Fourth Avenue bemoaned the system, saying it had cost them financially.
Clients don’t pop in at their local stores for milk, bread and newspaper anymore as they know that by the time they’re done, they’ll have to pay for parking too.
Some business owners said businesses had closed down because it had become costly for people to go out and have to pay for parking as well.
Metro police officers who roamed the area to ensure motorists paid for parking cared only about that, but not other traffic violations.
Tau, who conceded that paid parking works in some instances but not in others, said the problem with unmanaged space was that it could negatively affect businesses and residents.
Paid parking was introduced to manage public space and to stop people hogging parking space. However, he accepted that the system was fraught with challenges.
“What has come out of this meeting is that finding a one-size-fits-all solution is not going to help. It is clear that whatever solution is introduced won’t work 100 percent. What the meeting says is that we need flexibility.”
Business owner Joe Pinheino said he had to close his business because it had a niche clientele who would stay for several hours because of its free Wi-Fi, surfing the internet while buying muffins and coffee, among other things.
With the introduction of paid parking, all of that had come to an end.
Braeside Meat Market’s Caroline McCann said her business had suffered a drastic loss since paid parking was introduced. She resorted to making deliveries when she realised that people were not visiting the butchery anymore.
Not far from her butchery, siblings Saverio Cardillo and Franca Cardillo-Miller run Bottega Café. They used to park their cars in front of the café – until they had to pay about R90 a day. They now park on side streets, further away from the restaurant.
Franca said carrying files, a camera, a cellphone, a laptop and her bag was risky at night. - The Star