Byron Road, a rural farm area, has become the place for hundreds of commuters at Leppington Station to park. (Photo: Nour Ahmad)

Commuter parking crisis prompts safety fears

Go to Leppington Station in Sydney’s south-west on a weekday morning and you will see a far too common sight – lines and lines of cars parked on the grass, on footpaths and even in no parking zones.

Due to a lack of spaces, many commuters are parking up to 15 minutes away in unlit areas where it can be dangerous to walk to and from their cars late at night.

However, these commuters have no other choice – by 7am the parking spots at the station have all been filled up.

“The lack of parking is unsafe, people have to travel a long way away, girls shouldn’t have to walk on rural roads with no lighting,” said community campaigner and local candidate for Liverpool Michael Andjelkovic, who has started an online petition for more parking.

“A friend of mine got a fine and when I went to see it [the state of the car parking] I was very disappointed with what I saw so I kicked things off with my online petition.”

Cars on the footpath at crowded Edmondson Station. (Photo: Nour Ahmad)
Cars park in ‘no stopping zones’ at Edmondson Park station. (Photo: Nour Ahmad)

The problem isn’t exclusive to Leppington with commuters in many other suburbs across Sydney, including Edmondson Park and Holsworthy, in the same predicament.

Leppington Station currently has 850 parking spaces and Edmondson Park 400, despite having significantly higher daily commuter tap-ons.

“In Edmondson Park and Holsworthy it’s the same thing, they [The NSW State Government] keep making promises then breaking them,” Mr Andjelkovic added.

In August 2014, the Australian government announced the construction of the Leppington car park was 12 months ahead of schedule and $30 million below budget. This is where the problems began as the government chose not to provide multi-level parking.

In March last year, the government promised a further 300 spaces at a cost of $9 million. However, this was put aside. In November 2019, The NSW Minister for Transport Andrew Constance responded to commuter concerns by urging commuters to leave their cars at home, seemingly brushing off the problem.

Then, last December, Transport NSW revealed the number of car parking spaces would be increased to 1,000 but funding has yet to be provided.

A commuter at Leppington Station says she is scared to walk to her car. (Photo: Nour Ahmad)

As the population in this suburb booms, the transportation struggles to keep up and it is causing residents to grow increasingly frustrated with the lack of action.

One woman commuter from Oran Park, who asked not to be named, stressed the dangers the lack of parking presented to young girls and women in particular.

“It’s very dangerous, especially in the winter,” she said. “We essentially have to walk in pitch black darkness to our cars as there’s no adequate lighting”

She is not alone in her worries as some commuters have even taken to social media to voice their frustration.

Mr Andjelkovic, who recently visited Leppington station with his petition, has already gathered 8,000 signatures and blamed the problem on poor planning.

Michael Andjelkovic at Leppington Station gathering signatures. (Photo: Nour Ahmad)

“Our population is growing at an enormous level. They [Transport for NSW] didn’t believe that there would be as many people coming to the station as there are, and the car parking provided doesn’t cope with the number of commuters,” he said.