Park like a pro: managing the city streets
May 30, 2017
There is nothing like the convenience of having your car nearby when you’re enjoying an outing in the city. However, Australian city streets are becoming busier and busier, and parking is becoming an issue. So how do you navigate the streets without the stress?
Take a look at our eight tips for parking like a pro:
1. Check signage thoroughly
It often feels like you need an advanced degree to read city parking signs. They can have several different time zones, varied ticket information, and potentially confusing information about the number of hours you’re permitted to remain in the spot. Always take your time deciphering a parking zone, especially if the spot seems too good to be true: those who drove past before you may have caught something you missed. Also keep an eye out for specifications such as ‘rear to kerb’ only, which can sometimes be easy to miss, but costly if your unlawful parking is spotted by a parking inspector.
2. Shop around for paid parking
Planning ahead can make a huge difference to the cost of parking in paid, off-street parking. Lots of parking garages offer discounted rates if you book ahead of time, which can make driving into the city a far more convenient and affordable option. Similarly, many parking stations now have systems that don’t require a paper ticket (utilising either a code or your credit card to enter and exit the garage), so you’re not wasting time locating a pay station before you can head home at the end of the night. Sign up for your most frequented car park’s mailing lists and you may even get offers and specials to further reduce the cost.
3. Think outside the square
Another great, and often cheaper, alternative to dedicated paid car parks are shopping centres. Usually located right in the centre of the city, they cater to a large volume of cars and allow for extended stays at a reasonable price.
4. Aim for off peak
If you can arrive in an off peak period, after 6pm in most cities, parking prices are often drastically reduced. This includes both parking garages and on-street parking. Not only are prices down, but many on-street parking spots go from “no parking” to free parking from 6pm, so arriving at 5.58pm and cruising into a spot at 6pm on the dot is a great option.
5. Remember where you parked
This may seem obvious, but we’ve all parked somewhere unfamiliar only to return to where we thought the car was and find it’s nowhere in sight. Time spent looking for a lost car can very quickly become costly. When you get out of your car, take note of landmarks nearby or, if in a dedicated garage, pay attention to the level and area you are in. You can even use a variety of apps to earmark where you’ve left your car so you’ll never lose it again!
6. Don’t overstay your welcome
You’ve parked, put money in the metre and made sure you’re likely to remember where your car is, but you can still end up with a ticket if you lose track of time and stay longer than you’re allowed. It’s a good idea to set a timer on your phone for the allocated time you have in your spot to avoid that sinking feeling of seeing a ticket waiting on your dashboard as you return to your car.
7. Watch out for damage to your car
If you’ve had your car valet parked, it’s not uncommon for it to be slotted in amongst hundreds of other cars in very close proximity. While your car is generally safe and sound deep in these parking garages, accidents happen, and a bump or a scrape is a possibility. Taking a quick couple of photos of the exterior of your car can give you peace of mind, knowing that you’ve documented your car’s current condition, just in case anything happens in your absence.
8. Combine parking and public transport
Sometimes even the cheapest parking option in the heart of the city may still be out of your price range. If this is the case, consider parking a little way out of the city and catching public transport into the centre. This may take some extra planning, but is definitely worth it. Have a look on Google maps ahead of time at the streets a few kilometres out of the city centre, and locate an area which is unmetered and close to a bus, train or light rail. Public transport this close to the city centre is usually very regular and costs only a few dollars. This way you can leave your car without worrying about the astronomically high cost of parking, or the fear of getting a ticket, and you’ll also be delivered right to your destination.