Shoppers return as the boom gates come down at Ipswich Mall
COUNCIL'S controversial parking strategy appears to be working.
Since the boom gates came down at Ipswich City Square on Monday, the new Marsden Parade car park is full, shoppers at Ipswich City Square are finding parks closer to the shops and shop owners say they have noticed an increase in patronage.
Ipswich City Properties chairman Paul Tully said reports from the car parking management contractor showed that 91.5% enjoyed free parking during the first two days of the automated car parking system.
"Courtesy staff and security personnel have been on site since early Monday morning and have reported a very smooth introduction of the new car parking arrangements when compared to similar systems introduced elsewhere," he said.
Staff of Ipswich City Square retailers can park free under the arrangements, but not other mall retailers.
Areas around the mall have been affected as city workers look for other precincts offering free parking.
The River Heart Parklands car park has been full and the troubled St Mary's schools precinct is getting parked out.
Inner city councillor Andrew Antoniolli said the council had been monitoring the situation around St Mary's and hoped to have issues addressed before students return on Monday with new signage and enforcement.
He said council had also been issuing warnings to motorists using the River Heart Parklands carpark for all day parking. One third of the car park has a three hour restriction which helps service the school precinct and parkland visitors.
Cr Antoniolli said the changes would be a catalyst for increased traffic through the mall and attract new shops to town.
"What all this freed up parking space provides for now is an opportunity for existing traders to get more custom but it also provides an opportunity for new businesses," Cr Antoniolli said.
"For the next five plus years the mall will be undergoing change and development, it still has the potential to draw a large amount of customers. There are numerous activity generators in the Ipswich CBD and traders should be confident."
Traders were pleased with the changes.
Coochi Shoes owner Shakllia Rehimi said the plan was working.
"We have seen a lot of customers coming through and a lot of the parking is free," she said.
Autographed Memorabilia owner Corey Hamilton said those complaining about parking had it too good for too long.
"It's not a money making thing," he said. "You've got undercover parking with security walking through, cameras. All they are now doing really is contributing to the cost of something they have had free for 20-odd years.
"If you go to a major city you start paying from the minute you drive in. It's the three hours of free parking that makes a difference."
There was mixed opinion among shoppers.
Ken Muller from One Mile said the move was revenue raising.
"There won't be anyone staying longer than three hours," Mr Muller said.
"It will affect the traders."
Robert Moore from East Ipswich said the three hours was plenty of time for most shoppers.
"It's the same everywhere you go in Brisbane."