Parking overhaul as drivers to pay until 10pm and on Sundays
Free on-street parking on Sundays has been scrapped for drivers coming into the CBD and parts of Southbank, 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, is 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 includes a significant parcel of Southbank bounded by Clarendon St, City Rd and Southbank Boulevard.
Following this rollout, the council will next review parking settings in Carlton and West Melbourne, followed by all other neighbourhoods throughout the municipality in order of priority.
“Good parking management helps keep our city moving, and we want to make parking simpler for people who drive into Melbourne,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp 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.
While some criticised the move as pushing away potential visitors, the Lord Mayor said the opposite was the case.
“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 greater 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.
“Our on-street parking can be complex with some parking signs, limits, and charges confusing and inconsistent, resulting in frustrating experiences for drivers in the city. This plan will change that,” the council’s deputy transport chair Cr Davydd Griffiths said.
On-street parking represents just four per cent of all parking available in the city, with the remaining 96 per cent managed off-street in commercial car parks. •