Wolli Creek is fast growing into a modern mini-city, with high-rise buildings blessing its streets to accommodate the growing population of the St George area.
But just like many other Sydney suburbs, the rapid growth of Wolli Creek has exposed a lack of planning in the area with the suburb experiencing constant high levels of traffic congestion and serious parking issues.
Wolli Creek resident Michael McCabe who lives around Arncliffe Street believes the current congestion is dangerous. “I think Arncliffe Street is too narrow to be a two-way street especially in the evening when there is parking on both sides. It also creates danger in the sense that people are trying to walk across the street, in between parked cars and oncoming traffic can’t see them,” said Mr. McCabe.
The recent development of additional apartments also has many residents pointing the finger at Rockdale City Council, as the St George area will inherit bigger parking and traffic congestion issues. But Spokesman for Rockdale City Council, Vince Carrabs, says that commuter parking issues fall under the jurisdiction of the NSW government.
“When Wolli Creek station was approved by the NSW government, commuter parking was not given consideration at that time,” explains Mr. Carrabs. “Parking in the vicinity of Wolli Creek station is all time limited, and if cars are overstaying the time limits then this is an enforcement issue for Council’s parking where regular patrols are undertaken”.
Steve Kamper, a running state candidate for the seat of Rockdale, has proposed a plan to work together with the Council to find a solution and stop illegal parking near the station.
“It’s unacceptable that people are being forced to stop illegally at the station just to drop off or pick up passengers. I believe we could solve this problem by introducing a number of five minute ‘kiss and ride’ spots at the entrance to that station”.
Residents were pleased upon the opening of a Woolworths and Dan Murphy’s store in early 2013. But over the past few months it has proved difficult for customers to find parking in the car park as cars line-up at the entry of Woolworths stretching out onto the street, causing more congestion.
Zahra Fakih who regularly shops at the local Woolworths is concerned about the congestion. “I always go to Woolworths and the car park is overflowing with traffic. Once you do finally get through the parking area it is a bit squashy and you can’t take turns without making a three-point turn. There’s a lot of struggle finding a parking spot and there’s a lot of fighting when finding a spot,” she said.
Rockdale City Council has advised that it will be working with Woolworths on a legal agreement that will enable Council to take on parking enforcement activities in the Woolworths car park.
“The Council is currently undertaking detailed design investigation to determine the feasibility of the one way circuit in Arncliffe Street, Guess Avenue and Mount Olympus Boulevard”, said Mr. Carrabs.
Mr. Kamper, who regularly travels around Wolli Creek, agrees with the Council on how dangerous the entry and exit from the Woolworths car park is.
“I know how difficult parking is. When I talk to local businesses, they tell me how the lack of accessible parking is hurting them. We need to do better, and I will fight to see a better deal for Wolli Creek residents,” said Mr. Kamper.
Wolli Creek’s neighbouring suburb, Arncliffe, is also experiencing traffic congestion. Despite having parking stations nearby The Al-Zahra Mosque in Arncliffe still experiences traffic congestion around the Mosque and school. Double parking regularly occurs around the area, especially in the morning where students are being dropped off by their parents and during prayer times at night when community members get together to pray or take part in religious events.
According to Rockdale Council the issue of double parking and other legal parking is an enforcement issue and is therefore a responsibility of Police, or Council enforcements officers as appropriate.
“The growth in development and intensification of residential densities in these areas are a reflection of the NSW Government’s focus on urban renewal growth around transport oriented development,” said Mr. Carrabs.
Mr. Carrabs continues to emphasise that the area around Arncliffe railway station is a “Priority Precinct” with a focus on urban growth, as announced recently by the NSW Government.
El Telegraph Weekend has been advised that plans to tackle transport issues in Arncliffe and Wolli Creek have already been requested by the Council but until then it’s a waiting game for residents who continue to face frustrating delays on the road.