Free parking trial 'not enough'

SUPER Tuesday free parking is coming to Launceston as part of a trial proposal to boost the retail sector in the central business district.

Launceston aldermen will consider the move at Monday's Launceston City Council meeting.

Called Super Tuesday, the three-month free parking trial from 1pm to 6pm would be in council-owned multi-storey car parks at Paterson East, West and Elizabeth streets and begin on July 1.

However, Robert Turner, of Jim Hughs & Sons Jewellers, said the proposed one afternoon a week was not enough.

Mr Turner has started a petition and collected more than 1000 signatures already from other retailers and customers in favour of one hour free parking any day of the week, to move the bus stops and increase police presence in the Brisbane Street Mall.

The council's agenda recommends aldermen approve the trial.

It also recommends an advertising campaign for the public and businesses for the trial and other discounted parking options.

The total cost of the trial, which includes advertising and lost revenue for the three-month period, would be $36,000.

According to council parking operations manager Andrew Frost, the trial follows representations from Cityprom to investigate parking initiatives to ultimately increase shoppers.

Mr Frost said a number of options were investigated and, in consultation with Cityprom, it was decided to trial free Tuesday afternoon parking.

"Evidence indicates this is traditionally the quietest period for motorists visiting the CBD during a normal week," Mr Frost states in the report.

The trial would run in conjunction with existing cheap parking initiatives and a total cost in forgone revenue for the period would be $1 million.

Mr Turner said the trial essentially offered only an additional 2 1/2 hours of free parking on what is already offered and the three- month period was not long enough to properly gauge its success.

He believes a daily one hour free parking option would encourage more people to shop in the CBD instead of going to outlying suburbs like Kings Meadows and Prospect.

He said a similar scheme already operated in Hobart, which was introduced in 2007, and is now credited for helping to revitalise the shopping district.

Mr Turner said he also didn't believe there was any consultation with retailers on the proposed trial.

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