Parking overhaul as drivers to pay until 10pm and on Sundays
Drivers will soon be slugged for Sunday parking in the CBD, however can park free of charge for the first 15 minutes in a bid to keep the inner city moving.
Free on-street parking on Sundays has been scrapped for drivers coming into the CBD, 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 moves, part of a new overarching Parking and Kerbside Management Plan, was endorsed by councillors at a May 16 Future Melbourne Committee meeting.
It will 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 not only included the Hoddle Grid, but a significant parcel of Southbank and a pocket of West Melbourne adjacent to Flagstaff Gardens.
After implementing the CBD changes, the council will next review parking settings in Carlton and West Melbourne as the next-most urgent areas requiring changes.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said she often received feedback regarding the “anxiety” drivers faced about parking in the CBD and interpreting at times complex signage.
“Good parking management helps keep our city moving – and we want to make parking simpler for people who drive into Melbourne,” Cr 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.
Some have criticised the move, including Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Paul Guerra who said that while the simplicity of two-hour parking was a positive, charging on Sunday would push away potential visitors and negatively impact traders.
However the Lord Mayor said this was contrary to what business owners had told the council.
“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 higher appetite for weekend parking compared to pre-COVID levels.
Pedestrian numbers indicated that the number of people coming into the city on Sundays was similar to Saturdays, and a recent economic snapshot of the city showed that more cafes were opening across the weekend.
“I know there’s been a lot of discussion about paid parking on Sundays but I am confident in the data and evidence that shows that when people pay for their parking, those spots are more likely to turn over, Cr Capp said.
“It means that more people are able to use those spots, and those people are going into our shops and venues to help those local traders. I think that’s important.”
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.
The plan was supported by all councillors except Philip Le Liu and Roshena Campbell, who said the move to charge drivers for something that was previously free would hamper some already struggling businesses.
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. •
Caption: The proposed parking changes will apply in the CBD, plus parts of Southbank and West Melbourne.