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Briefing paper

Transport Strategy Refresh: background paper – car parking

Urban planning Transport Car parking Transport integration Melbourne

This discussion paper is to inform a new City of Melbourne Transport Strategy to 2050. A draft strategy will be released for consultation in 2018. We are seeking your views on these issues and ideas.

To protect Melbourne’s liveability for future generations, we need greener, people friendly streets. The management of parking has a profound impact on our transport system and city streets. The City of Melbourne manages on-street parking across the municipality and some o -street parking. Most o -street parking spaces are built and managed by the private sector. The Melbourne Planning Scheme controls the amount of car parking in new developments.

Car parking is essential to car-based travel, with cars stationary 95 per cent of the time (Barter – Reinventing Parking, 2013). Occupying at least 12 square metres but as much as 35 square metres per space, parking can account for significant portions of urban land. Car parking policy is relevant to many issues in Australian transport and urban planning– concerns about urban intensification; housing affordability; the liveability of dense urban areas; traffic and congestion; and the sustainability of cities. Parking policy influences transport, housing, and urban design but is sometimes overlooked in debates about cities and their future: it is “expected but unnoticed” (Ben-Joseph 2012).

Car parking is an important part of Melbourne’s transport and planning challenge. Conventional car parking policies have long shaped the city’s urban form and transport patterns. A legacy of 20th century approaches to parking policy mean the real cost of parking is rarely paid for upfront, nor is the actual use of or demand for car parking space often monitored. As a result, a growing body of research indicates that car parking is oversupplied and is neither priced nor used efficiently. Demographic changes, car sharing, ride sharing and automated vehicle technologies mean uncertainty over future demand for parking and how best to manage it. Newer approaches to parking policy and to the use or re-use of parking space including for public open space in cities worldwide are the subject of enthusiasm, but also of concerns that change may disadvantage or disrupt communities. An evidence base can help inform public discussion about the trade-offs. This discussion paper acknowledges however that car parking is characterised both by strong beliefs, and by gaps in this evidence base.

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