Opinion: parking in streets off campus


Curtin University students are frustrated with parking availability and costs.

For many people, the costs are so high that they have resolved to park on residential streets off the campus. While for others, it’s the availability that is rather more essential.

Sill Earl, Mckay, Marquis and Beveridge Streets are all hot spots for Curtin students looking to park without having to pay anything.

SLIDESHOW: The popular streets for student parking.

For Curtin students parking in these streets, it takes just five minutes to walk to campus. They find it more convenient than searching hours for an empty bay.

“The parking fees are too high. I can’t afford to pay so much for a spot that will take me hours to find,” a female student said.

“It’s much easier for me to park here and walk to class; it will only take five minutes to get there.”

Many students do not have jobs and find it difficult to afford the parking fees, she says.

Although there are no parking signs or limitations around the park (known as Sill Park) formed by some of these streets, it is unclear whether this form of mass parking is illegal.

Council investigates residents’ complaints

A City of Canning spokeswoman has confirmed “complaints have been made by residents” and that actions have been taken.

Students parking on these streets are subject to the regulations of the particular street and will face fines for illegal parking, she says.

Every street has its own set of rules and regulations so it is for the council officer to establish whether an infringement has been made.

The council only has one patrol officer for the entire Canning region, so students usually get away with fines.

One student faced a direct complaint from a resident when he parked on their lawn, but never again when he parked along the curb.

“I had one complaint before because I parked on the grass area but never on the curb,” he said.

For this student, the costs of parking are not the main concern, but rather the availability of the bays.

“I think it’s a waste of money because usually I can’t get parking in uni anyway,” he said.

He added that he had not received a parking ticket in his usual parking spot; hence he has been using it for more than a year.

Some neighbours unconcerned

Most of the residents in this area are international students studying at Curtin. While there have been complaints, some student residents don’t mind the parking.

“It doesn’t really bother me in any way,” Ms Mohmad said.

“I don’t see them intruding on my privacy or any other sort. Just maybe at times in the morning when driving out, it can be quite inconvenient for oncoming vehicles passing by.

“But then again, the traffic flow on this street is very low, so it is not dangerous for any motorists or pedestrians.

“I used to be a Curtin student and I can totally understand their situation. Parking on campus is quite expensive so I guess this is the next best thing to do.”

Earl Street has signage that allows for a maximum two hours of parking. This, however, is difficult for the patrol officers to determine whether a car has been parked past its due time.

“As for whether it is legal or not, that is up to the council to deal with,” Ms Mohmad said.

“It’s not as if they are permanently parked there all the time. When evening comes, all the cars are gone.

“Besides most of the time during the day, everyone is at work.”

Ms Mohmad, who has been a nearby resident for three years, says this trend has only just begun.

Next year’s fees

It is likely that the introduction of the new parking system and an increase in parking fees has encouraged this matter to escalate.

In 2012, Curtin is set to introduce a “pay as you go” parking system. According to the university, this will ensure cheaper fares and more parking bays.

Parking will cost $3.50 all day, which will equate to $17.50 for five days a week. A student who attends classes every weekday will look to pay more than $250 a semester.

Some 1200 bays will be allocated at $2 a day.

Although some students attending classes two or three times a week may find this beneficiary, other people visiting everyday will find it very costly.

Currently students are paying $190 annually, which they deem expensive. So the situation is likely to get worse and students will look to park off campus.

The council is doing all it can to avoid illegal parking and will be looking into the matter, according to the spokeswoman.

Curtin University, on the other hand, does not have responsibility for students’ actions off the campus; however, official representatives insist they are doing their best to improve their parking standards.

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