Late released agenda items for Tuesday night’s council meeting include proposals from staff to make parking free and unlimited in the City to “encourage visitation”. You can make a submission via https://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/about-council/committees-meetings/meeting-archive/pages/Future-Melbourne-Committee-17-November-2020.aspx. Submissions must be made before 10:00AM Tuesday 17th November 2020. Agenda item 6.3, recommendation 16.3.
Below are some points you could include.
- The policy will not work. Experience during lockdown showed that free parking = no parking. Parking is occupied by workers who arrive before customers. In the case of evening and weekend activation of the CBD, hospitality workers will arrive before customers and take all the free parking.
The problem with “free” parking, is it means “no parking” because the limited on-street parking fills up quickly. And who wants to eat outdoors next to smelly exhausts and cars moving within a few cm of your table? https://t.co/zDWOEAhlt2
— Bike Melbourne (@bikemelbourne) September 28, 2020
During working hours, extended or free parking is occupied by tradies who would normally park off-street or use public transport. Parking available for deliveries and drop-offs is actually reduced by free and extended on-street parking.
- Outdoor dining is central to recovery of restaurants. The City is converting parking space to dining space. How does it work to make the fewer remaining spaces unlimited and therefore unavailable? We need to be removing cars and parking to take advantage of the public open space provided by roads and streets. There is a reason why Melbourne’s laneways are so popular – they are car free.
- Encouraging more cars to enter the CBD does not encourage visitation. The dominant modes and the modes preferred under the City’s Transport Strategy are PT, walking and cycling. PT creates walking trips (last mile). Walking and cycling are discouraged, made less convenient and more dangerous by having more cars, so the policy will discourage the most common modes of access.
- Encouraging visitation to support businesses should aim at customers who will spend money. $10 flat fee from commercial car parks is small compared to the amount spent by CBD evening and weekend visitors and does not act as a disincentive.
- Car park operators have lost most of their revenue for the last 6 months, the free parking proposal will further reduce their revenue. There is ample space provided by off-street commercial parking providers, usually at a flat fee (unlimited time) during evenings and weekends, so on-street parking is a waste of scarce and valuable space.
- The officer’s agenda item is disingenuous regarding consultation on the City’s Transport Strategy. That consultation did not support encouraging more car trips into the City and the Strategy aims to reduce car travel, not increase it.