Parking overhaul as drivers to pay until 10pm and on Sundays

Parking overhaul as drivers to pay until 10pm and on Sundays
David Schout

Drivers will soon be slugged for Sunday parking, however can park free of charge for the first 15 minutes in a bid to keep the inner city moving.

Free on-street parking on Sundays has been scrapped for drivers coming into the CBD and parts of West Melbourne, as the City of Melbourne overhauls how it charges motorists.

Drivers will also be charged until 10pm, rather than 8.30pm, from Monday to Sunday, however, will have access to free on-street parking for 15 minutes “to support quick trips” and discounted “off-peak” rates.

The move, alongside an overarching Parking and Kerbside Management Plan, was expected to be endorsed by councillors at a May 16 Future Melbourne Committee meeting.

It would also see the implementation of consistent two-hour parking limits every day, 7am to 10pm, to simplify what drivers saw as confusing signage.

The council did not propose any increase to the current maximum $7 hourly parking rate, and would implement what it said was “fairer, data-led pricing” with a new off-peak $4 per hour rate all weekend and after 7pm on weekdays.

The sweeping changes would begin in July and only be implemented in the “CBD” — which for on-street parking purposes not only included the Hoddle Grid, but a significant parcel of Southbank and a pocket of West Melbourne adjacent to Flagstaff Gardens.

After implementing the CBD changes, the council will next review parking settings in Carlton and West Melbourne as the next-most urgent areas requiring changes.

North West City News has previously reported the frustrations of Stanley St residents, who have urged council intervention to resolve congestion and untenable demand for spaces near their homes.

One resident was quoted in the Parking and Kerbside Management Plan saying: “We live in West Melbourne, our home is a single dwelling with no off-street parking. During business hours and the football, it is impossible for us to park near our home.”

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the changes in the CBD and immediate surrounds were needed. “Good parking management helps keep our city moving – and we want to make parking simpler for people who drive into Melbourne,” she said.

 

Businesses need confidence that their customers can find a park, and deliveries will arrive on time. That’s why we’re making up to 15 minutes of parking free, creating consistent two-hour limits and installing clearer signs.

 

Some have criticised the move, including Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Paul Guerra, who said that while the simplicity of two-hour parking was a positive, charging on Sunday would push away potential visitors and negatively impact traders.

However, the Lord Mayor said this was contrary to what business owners had told the council. “Feedback from traders was loud and clear – they want to see more active management across on-street parking, to attract more customers and increase parking turnover.”

Demand for parking has changed in recent years, with a higher appetite for weekend parking compared to pre-COVID levels.

Pedestrian numbers also indicated that the number of people coming into the city on Sundays was similar to Saturdays.

Cr Capp later told 3AW: “We have thousands of people who try to pay for parking on a Sunday, so we have decided to make it consistent on Saturdays and Sundays.”

“We get a lot of feedback, and the data actually shows, when something is free, you don’t get the turnover and traders are wanting to see turnover on that street parking so that more customers can come.”

It was expected the council would benefit from a forecast increase in parking meter revenue of around $2.7 million in the first 12 months.

Research that informed the new plan revealed that up to 30 per cent of CBD traffic was drivers “cruising” to find a park, a situation that increased vehicle congestion, emissions and “frustration for drivers [that] can lead to unsafe driving or illegal parking”.

A significant number of drivers also reported convoluted, confusing signs in the central city. Some controls currently switched between “1P” and “2P” during the day, and the council said a move to implement across-the-board two-hour parking removed confusion. •

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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