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Morning peak hour could get worse

13 May 2014

Morning peak hour could get worse Image

The threat of more morning peak hour traffic congestion in Southbank has been avoided, for now.

Crown Casino submitted an application to the Planning Minister and the City of Melbourne to have the conditions on one of its car parks removed, but after the council published its objection to the plan, the Casino withdrew it and has stated it will resubmit the application. 

The car park, at 27-45 Whiteman St, was extended in 2004 by 1243 spaces, on the condition the new spaces weren’t used between 5am - 9.30am on weekdays. The casino wants this condition removed so the car park can be used during this time.

While the Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy, is the sole decision-maker, he sent the application to the City of Melbourne for its opinion. Before a Future Melbourne Committee meeting in May, the council published its objection to the proposal.

In its report, the council said the removal of this condition would create an inconsistency with the Melbourne Planning Scheme.

“The removal of the restriction on the use of the car parking spaces would also be to the detriment of the master planning of City Rd, which is a key action of the Southbank Structure Plan,” the report said.

“Additional traffic on City Rd would potentially worsen the existing issues, which the master plan seeks to address,” it continued.

“The removal of condition 2 (allowing cars to use the car park between 5am and 9.30am) would exacerbate existing traffic congestion on the surrounding road network and would be to the detriment of the master planning of City Rd.”

While councillors did not debate the issue in depth because the application had been withdrawn, Cr Rohan Leppert did express his displeasure with it.

“The condition, as it was imposed in 2004, was an absolutely appropriate means of deterring commuter car parking and it’s now 2014, we’ve endorsed many updates to our transport strategies and tweaked planning scheme accordingly since then,” Cr Leppert explained.

“The rationale for the deterring of commuter car parking is stronger today even than it was in 2004,” he added.

“If it was just to go to us today without that deferral, I think the CoM shouldn’t have any hesitation in recommending to the minister and the department that it objects because there is no appropriate rationale to remove the condition.”

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