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Free parking needed to ‘revive business’ in Frankston
by Mornington Peninsula Magazine

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Vicinity Group needs to introduce two-hour free parking at its Bayside Shopping Centre to help rebuild central Frankston’s economy after COVID-19 lockdowns, says one of Frankston’s key advocacy groups.

Committee for Greater Frankston president Rod Evenden said the move would not only help revive the suburb’s CBD but also provide some confidence to Bayside traders who had seen their businesses suffer for almost a year. The committee has been strongly advocating for several years for improved public transport and more affordable parking in Frankston’s CBD.

“Two hours of free parking CBD-wide would encourage shoppers to return to our city and restore the confidence of Bayside traders cautious about renewing their leases,” Mr Evenden said. “Shoppers have warmly received Karingal Hub shopping centre’s $160 million redevelopment with its ample and free undercover carparking, with many describing it as ‘brilliant’. The new Karingal Hub development leaves Bayside and the CBD blatantly uncompetitive.”

Parking in central Frankston was among the most expensive of Melbourne’s suburbs, he said. “It’s a heavy burden; our CBD needs some relief.”

Frankston City Council took the lead on providing more affordable parking when it introduced free parking for two hours at its off-street carparks in central Frankston last July, he said. “This was a good initiative to help businesses being hurt by the coronavirus. Bayside could have followed Frankston Council’s lead but has yet to do so.”

Bayside parking costs had been “bleeding the retail soul out of Frankston for many years”, and lockdowns had “amplified the pain”, he said. “Bayside shoppers’ and workers’ parking has been treated as a corporate ATM for too long. Too much money has been creamed off through parking for our city to thrive. Pricing is clearly out of whack with all other shopping precincts in Victoria.”

Adequate access to affordable carparking and an effective public transport system were crucial elements for a healthy outer suburban economy like Frankston’s. “Bayside staff need affordable all-day parking, and shoppers expect two hours free like at other places they visit. And Vicinity Group will greatly benefit if traders are again willing to sign Frankston leases.”

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