Moreland City Council has a new transport strategy, which will enable them to remove minimum requirements for car parking for new developments. At the council meeting on 13 March, The Moreland Integrated Transport Strategy (MITS) and Parking Implementation Plan were adopted.
Natalie Abboud, Moreland mayor, said that the strategy was developed to enable the council to accommodate 36,000 new residents by 2036, and at the same time plan a new approach to transport, which doesn’t rely solely on cars. Abboud believes that the growth of cities demands efficiency. Furthermore, she said that cars might have been the best way of transport in the past, but now the council needs to adapt to remain a great place to live.
Under current Victorian planning laws, there are minimum parking requirements requested for new developments. The new strategy of Moreland City council focused on certain elements over which the council has control, like car parking. The next step is for the Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne to prepare an amendment by June 2019.
GTA Consultants prepared the Parking Implementation Plan that proposes that minimum parking requirements be replaced with maximum car parking rates in Activity Centres while lowering minimum parking requirements in Neighbourhood Centres. This new plan would include more parking areas with patrols and ticketing, to protect local streets from reduced parking requirements on new developments.
Another important element that this plan took into consideration is the cost of constructing car parking. According to the plan, a single car parking space in a basement can cost more than $40,000, which just adds up to the overall cost of commercial or residential development. By having minimum car parking required, the developers have to incorporate it with the building, instead of letting people choose where they want to park.
The document notes that parking is bundled in the cost of the development, so the actual cost of the car spot is often hidden from the buyer. The idea of the plan is to let people choose whether they want to pay for residential parking. This will not only reduce the amount of residential parking, but it can also decrease the costs of car use while giving people the possibility to choose other forms of transport, that might be more affordable, healthier and better for the community as well.
At the moment, the council has many policies with the idea of increasing the use of transport that doesn’t include cars. However, the document notes that the council should have policies that should move the community toward sustainable transport.
The first Nightingale development by Breathe Architecture was issued a permit to be without the car parking by Moreland City Council, but the permit was revoked in 2015 by Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). After this decision, planners have demanded a revision of the requirements for minimum car parking.
Lecturer in urban planning at RMIT University, Stephen Rowley said that the planning is disrupted by minimum car parking regulations. He believes that this planning control has done much harm to many people.
At the time, the Planning Institute of Australia said that the models of urban planning should be changed to support transport that doesn’t rely on cars. Furthermore, they said that minimum car parking requirements lead to the poor design and increase the overall cost of housing.