By Kyra Gillespie
The shortage of parking at Beaconsfield Railway Station is being slammed by commuters and the Cardinia Shire Council.
Those who use the station claim the carpark is full before 8am on a working day, leaving no choice but to utilise surrounding streets.
Despite the addition of 157 carparks to the station in 2011 – bringing the total number of parking spaces at the station to 285 – surrounding residential streets in Beaconsfield such as Woods Street, Railway Avenue, Goff Street, Railway and Beaconsfield Avenue are impacted on a daily basis by overflow parking issues.
Resident and commuter Viki Ware said the parking situation is “unworkable.”
“There is so little parking that if you don’t get there before 7am you cannot park in the actual carpark and by 7:30 there’s virtually no parking in the surrounding streets,” she said.
“State and local government are not working together to provide sufficient carparking options.
“We are all just ordinary, everyday people trying to get to work and earn a living.”
According to Public Transport Victoria data released in 2015, approximately 250,000 commuters boarded or departed at Beaconsfield per annum.
It is believed that figure could be as much as 30 per cent higher to date.
Beaconsfield has been included among Victoria’s fastest-growing suburbs, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data
released this month.
Ms Ware said the “inadequate” bus services also further exacerbate the problem.
“We are facing a huge population growth – without adequate rail services it is just going to get worse.
“The bus services are also inadequate; they meander all over the place and only come every hour which adds an extra hour to the journey. The whole thing is unworkable.
“The council need to lay off fining people for ‘parking illegally’ and start working with state government to fix this issue.”
Ranges Ward Councillor Brett Owen has vowed to back commuters in their fight for change.
The Beaconsfield Car Parking Precinct Plan – which council adopted in 2016 – outlines council lobbying for ‘expansion of the railway carparking’, ‘the frequency of premium and connector bus services to be increased’ and ‘for a bus supply and demand analysis to be undertaken of existing bus services’ among other issues.
Two years on and the problems are yet to be resolved.
“Increased car parking at the Beaconsfield Train station is needed to cater for the increase in patronage utilising the station – the current car parking is simply not sufficient,” Cr Brett Owen said.
“The lack of car parking is resulting in overflow into surrounding residential streets which is impacting the amenity and liveability of residents.”
The continued site of contention has incited further council advocacy for improvements and additional car parking in the lead up to the state election
“At the upcoming state election funding commitments is a must for the upgrade of Beaconsfield Railway Station car park, utilising of the adjacent VicTrack land.
“In addition to increased car parking, additional bus services are essential to improve bus-to-train connectivity.
“Such an investment in public transport would reduce the need to drive to the station.”
According to Gembrook MP Brad Battin, the Andrews Government has stalled progress at the contentious railway station.
“Last time we were in government we delivered over 150 carparks to Beaconsfield station, and 1500 for the South East corridor,” he said.
“This progress has stopped under the Andrews Government. So far they’ve got 40 extra spaces planned for Berwick and have delivered around 130 in this growth corridor.
“Carparking at Beaconsfield has not been delivered in the state budget despite the rapid population growth. I raised the issue with the government about the various issues around Beaconsfield station but they gave no response about the parking.
“I plan to go out over the next few weeks to talk to residents and find out exactly how this is affecting them and continue the campaign.”
Councillor Brett Owen will also table a petition from a local resident about the lack of parking at the council meeting on Monday 21 May.