Melbourne signals major parking shift

Melbourne’s streets are set to evolve into better places for people to live, shop, socialise and entertain.

The City of Melbourne has released a draft Parking and Kerbside Management Plan that re-imagines the function of streets and prioritises the community and ratepayers over kerbside parking.

The new plan contains initiatives that promise businesses in the CBD better access to well-positioned loading bays when they are most needed, meaning delivery drivers won’t be parking in busy bike lanes in the morning peak.

It also signals a move towards demand-based pricing for carparking as a measure to reduce the number of vehicles circulating congested streets looking for spaces.

City of Melbourne surveys show that for every 100 cars entering the city to park, 5 found on-street parking immediately and 95 circulated the city. Of these, 36 found an off-street car park, but the other 59 either took time to find an on-street space, parked illegally, or travelled further out.

The council’s plan reports that the cost of parking in the city, now a metropolis of 4.6 million people, is subsidised by up to 130%.

The plan also says that only 14 per cent of people shopping in the municipality drive and park a car on-street, while 60 per cent arrive by other modes of transport. There is a perception that retail is dependent on parking, but the evidence shows otherwise. 

The plan recognises the need for bike parking but expressed concern about street clutter. 

It supports the conversion of car parking spaces to be used for other purposes where necessary.

 "Car parking spaces could be used to facilitate important city infrastructure (such as street trees, footpath widenings, tram stops, dining areas and additional open space) or different types of vehicle parking (like motorcycles, scooters or bicycles) that are being moved to the kerbside to alleviate congestion on cluttered footpaths,” the plan says. 

The draft plan will be approved for publication consultation soon.

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