Concerns persist over the availability of park-and-ride spaces near train stations throughout south-east Queensland and the flow-on effects for commuter safety.
Discussion about the issue reignited recently after Brisbane woman Jacqueline Smart used Facebook to show how far she had to walk at night to her car from the Darra train station.
“There’s no consideration about how people are going to get to the station from their car as there’s insufficient carparks at any park and ride,” she told ABC Radio Brisbane’s Craig Zonca and Rebecca Levingston.
“Also, in terms of paths, lights and security, sometimes you’re walking more than 800 metres through a dark industrial area to get back to your car when you finish work.
“On the day I posted the footage, there was roadworks with no consideration of the blocking of all the car parks.”
Ms Smart said she had written to Translink as well as local, state and federal politicians about her concerns.
“The local member has done a lighting review and contacted Energex, so in one street they have upgraded lighting, but it’s about the parking.”
Taking the issue to court
Ms Smart is set to appear in court to appeal a fine after she parked in a garden bed close to the station.
“In May, a main road was blocked off for resurfacing and people were parking over people’s driveways and businesses’ driveways, and I parked on a garden bed in the park and ride,” she said.
“I thought, ‘I’m going to risk the fine’ … and I did get a fine.”
Commuters are hoping for a better integrated public transport system to help with parking problems. (ABC News: Patrick Williams)
Nevertheless, Ms Smart said she was determined to keep pursuing the issue.
“I respect that people can’t park willy-nilly as it’s dangerous, however it was more dangerous for me to not have a park near the station,” she said.
“I’ve decided I’ll go to court instead of paying the $50 fine and it may end up costing me $1,000 to pay legal fees and to have a day off, but we need to make it safe for people to get to work.”
Callers to ABC Radio Brisbane said more was needed to help commuters park and ride at local stations.
“I had a similar experience and I ended up riding my bike, but that was fun too because if you chained your bike to the fence outside the station, the QR people would unchain your bike and take it from you.” — Chris from Darra
“The park and ride is full by 7:00am at Windsor and we have to drive further down the road to find a park.” — Alex from Alderley
“Many of us have to commute each morning and the carparks at Redland Bay are less than half that is required.” — Gayle from Macleay Island
“The park and ride is full by 7:00am and there’s no parking on the eastern side of the train station, so you have no hope really — I have to park in the local streets, which annoys residents.” — Alicia from Carseldine
Balancing carparking with local communities
The head of Translink, Matt Longland, said it was working to create more parking.
“We have 30,000 parks across the network at the moment, mostly on the train network,” he said.
“In the last couple of years we’ve added 4,000 places and now we’re planning 3,000 more.
“We do a formal survey every 12 months of park and rides to look at overflow onto local streets and it helps us find the problem areas and what places to put investment in.”
He said it was about balancing the amount of car parks to the nearby areas.
“It’s important to not have acres of car parks around stations, especially for commuters that park there for eight to 10 hours a day as it can kill off the area around the station,” Mr Longland said.
“We really want to encourage the development of the centre and consolidate car parking and allow things like retail and employment around stations.”
In relation to Ms Smart’s case, Mr Longland said it was a council issue.
“We know we need to provide more work where it’s needed most and to be able to let customers know where car parks are full,” he said.
“We have conditions of use at the entrance of the car park — saying it is for commuters.”
He said in future Translink would require commuters to scan their Go Cards when entering the park and ride.
“This will help us understand what people are using the network when and allow us to track when car parks are full,” he said.
“The more car parks we put in, the more we would fill up; part of the solution is how we can encourage people to use the integration system, like feeder services.”