A group of Rockingham residents living along the Esplanade say a proposal to build parking bays along the beachfront will only worsen congestion in the area and destroy amenities used by residents and tourists.

During its February council meeting, City of Rockingham councillors voted to investigate further parking options near the foreshore to increase parking capacity in the short term, to “compensate” for the on-street car parking reduced by the ongoing foreshore redevelopment.

This included the addition of parallel or angled parking bays along the Esplanade.

However in their report to councillors, City officers conceded that the installation of parallel bays would abut the pedestrian path, while angled bays would require “much” of the pedestrian path to be relocated into the foredune.

However, residents along the foreshore said that additional parking was unnecessary, and side streets currently used for parking by people visiting the beach or going for a walk were rarely ever full.

Resident Rick Maxwell said there was sufficient parking available, and that ripping up grass to make way for more parking bays was unnecessary.

“It is a temporary fix. When other parking gets constructed within the next few years, this probably wouldn’t even be used,” he said.

“It’s so beautiful along here, why would they want to get rid of that for carparks?” he said.

Several residents noted that despite the 50km/h speed limit along the Esplanade, they regularly saw drivers speeding, with some vehicles reaching speeds of 150 km/h late at night.

Resident Dot Nichols started a petition last week urging councillors to reject the proposal, and had more than 90 people, both locals and tourists, sign during one afternoon.

Residents said installing more bays would make it more difficult for people trying to cross the road if they had to watch for cars that were also trying to park.

“This street is used by cyclists every weekend and having to compete with more cars could be very dangerous for them too,” Ms Nichols said.

A City of Rockingham spokesman said the matter was expected to be tabled before the council at the May meeting, following the conclusion of the consultation period.

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