Johannesburg - There is no one-size-fits-all solution to Johannesburg's problem of over-crowded streets and not enough parking bays, the city's mayor said on Tuesday.
“There should not be spaces that are not managed (in the city). An unmanaged environment becomes negative to residents and businesses in those different areas,” Parks Tau told Parkhurst residents during a meeting.
“We have the responsibility to find different solutions for the different areas.”
Some residents and business owners in the northern suburb said they were unhappy with the introduction of a paid parking system to curb the large volume of cars that parked in and off the suburb's popular Fourth Avenue on weekends.
“Paid parking is an effective way of discouraging on-street parking for long-term use,” Tau said.
Philippa Robinson, who has lived in Parkhurst for two years, said the system was not a bad idea, but that it cost too much.
“I think it's absurd that we pay more here than we do in Hyde Park and Melrose.”
A number of business owners at the meeting said the parking system was killing their business.
A cafe owner on Fourth Avenue, Nico Hinis, said the popular street had become overcrowded with businesses since he moved to the suburb in 1988.
“People are buying houses (as residents) in the main road and turning them into six or seven businesses with not enough parking spots. The greed is overbearing,” he said.
Others at the meeting proposed special parking discounts for residents. Some suggested the system only take effect in the evenings when restaurants and pubs filled up.
The city's transportation executive director Lisa Seftel said the paid parking system was used all over the world.
“In every city in the world there is some form of paid parking,” she said.
However, the solution was not the same for all areas.
“When it came to Parkhurst we learnt a lot of lessons.”
Seftel said part of the problem with Parkhurst was the growing number of businesses and people visiting the suburb, and the lack of sufficient road space to accommodate all the cars.
She said the suburb had not adapted to the change it was experiencing.
Tau said residents would have to work with the city.
“We need to find solutions together. We need flexibility. Some things can be introduced in a few months and others need to be budgeted for. We need to make this city work,” he said.