But I just want to park my car out the front and go straight in...
OK. First, to premise this, I think it is pretty obvious for regular readers that I love Newcastle and small businesses. If you aren't, well, take it from me that I do.
Lots of businesses in the Newcastle CBD are doing it tough. I can totally appreciate the extra pressures on them at this time. I'm just starting to think that some of these groups are having totally different conversations about the issue of PARKING in our city.
I can appreciate that for Helen and her 7 kids it is difficult to carry everything via the bus or train and that cars are very convenient. Bob really just wants things to go back to the way they were where he could drive into town and score a super convenient car park right near Frontline Hobbies and walk straight in. Debra thinks public transport if for poor people.
I can also appreciate that businesses have occupied leases based on assumptions that certain "public" car parking spots would remain so and that building development wouldn't all happen at the same time clogging up the roadways and such.
Right. I'm not saying all this without fully appreciating that I am also to blame. I am, like 99% of us a creature of habit. I enjoy being able to drive into town, well driving in general because it affords me extra time in the day I'd otherwise be waiting for transport and having to follow an indirect route. It is a luxury that is not lost on me and I can think of plenty of times when I've thought of friends that only used public transport and hated the idea that they forfeit so much valuable time on transit. Yet, now that I think about it, in some ways it feels like I am the real loser.
The other side of this conversation implementing change; the developers, Newcastle City Council, Revitalising Newcastle, etc; are all looking at it from a different angle. Parking isn't a thought because it isn't the vision of the future. I like to believe they'd like to be able to retort "Suck it up princess" to anyone complaining of their carparks being taken away. Really, for the most part, they weren't theirs, to begin with. A shared asset is taken for granted. Now "we" all need to change behaviours and motivate the community to shift to a more public transport centric approach. Easier said than done, I agree.
That's where I see this new inner-city line as a huge opportunity.
It'll be so shiny and new we are all going to want to have a turn.
Take the kids on an adventure into the city centre.
Realise that by using it we can stop off at more of the city centre and enjoy more that is on offer. I'm going to bet that a decent percentage of people from this will realise it is easier than driving in and shift their habit. The train line we never used will be long forgotten very quickly.
Slow down, enjoy the ride.