Subjects: Commuter car parking in Greenway

FORDHAM: Some Sydney commuters have to park so far away from their local train station; they're catching a taxi or an Uber back to their car after getting off the train. Now it's expected another 218 000 new homes will be built over the next decade, but get this - Transport for NSW is only building 8000 new commuter car spaces along the train network. People have been seen running several hundred metres to make it to trains at Schofields Station because they've had to park so far away. Commuters have reported parking so far from the station; they then catch an Uber to get back to their car after getting off the train so they end up spending an extra $30. 

Federal Labor MP Michelle Rowland says this is one of the biggest issues for people in her Western Sydney seat of Greenway. And Michelle Rowland is on the line. Michelle, good afternoon.

ROWLAND: Good afternoon Ben.

FORDHAM: Yeah, it's one thing to say to people 'alright catch public transport' but if you live too far away from the train station, you've got to drive and you've got to hope to get a park nice and close to the station but everyone else is trying to do the same thing. 

ROWLAND: Well that's absolutely right, and we know that it is important to make public transport easier to use if you want to get more cars off the road. But this is a massive issue which goes to the quality of life of many of my local residents, and when you have to park literally in the next suburb and walk for the length that you describe, it really is a disincentive to use public transport.

FORDHAM: What are the train stations where we're seeing this problem pop up?

ROWLAND: It’s just about all of them Ben, but I must say in the Northwest area, Schofields is the area of biggest concern. A couple of years ago, Schofields would've been known as a couple of paddocks, and now it is one that is rapidly changing, its got huge housing growth in there, and also Quakers Hill, There the two stations for which i get the biggest numbers of complaints from people, where parking is just completely inadequate. 

FORDHAM: Alright what’s the solution here, because the NSW Government says 'look we’re building new locations, were building new car spots', I know that the Transport Minister Andrew Constance says 'Since we came to Government I'm proud to say we've delivered an extra 6000 car parking spots. The Sydney Metro mega-project will deliver 4000 extra car spots for customers in the Northwest.' Is that going to sort it?

ROWLAND: It’s not going to sort it. And as you rightly point out in your opening comments Ben, we've got 200,000 new homes going into the region. When you calculate how many people that is going to need to cater for and how many people will need to commute that is a completely inadequate amount that's being planned. And as for the Metro, your listeners who live in Northwest Sydney will know what a bottle neck it is just to get into the Norwest Business Park, so trying to park in that area is going to be a problem in itself. 

FORDHAM: Yeah, I mean if we had more residential high-rise above train stations then there'd be more parking there, and what I can’t work out, I mean we know its profitable. Anyone who runs parking stations, it’s very profitable. So there's a financial argument there for doing it but I wonder whether there’s just not the space, whether people can't grab that land?

ROWLAND: No, you're dead right there Ben. I'm a big supporter of having that sort of density around train stations and you can even see in areas like Schofields they've put up quite a few new apartment buildings, which seem to get a lot of tenants almost overnight. So it certainly is a very popular option and I think that it should be one which is embraced.

FORDHAM: Good on you Michelle, nice to talk to you. 

ROWLAND: Pleasure. 

FORDHAM: Michelle Rowland the Federal Labor MP, she's the Member for Greenway, a Western Sydney seat. It covers suburbs like Schofields, Kellyville Ridge, Kings Langley, Lalor, Park, Parklea, and Seven Hills.