The City of Ballarat has listened to its community and substantially altered its Smarter Parking Plan.
City of Ballarat Infrastructure and Environment Director Terry Demeo said the clear message from extensive consultation was that the community did not want any major additions to the Ballarat CBD paid parking network.
However, Mr Demeo stressed the recommendations in the report are options for council to consider, not positions.
“Councillors are yet to make a decision and they may look at these options or consider alternative options that may not even have been canvassed yet,” Mr Demeo said.
“These recommended options are but one of the avenues available to the Councillors to discuss and debate before making a decision.
“Some Councillors may have their own ideas to put forward at the February 20 Council Meeting following their own independent discussions with the community.
“As with any matter that is put before Council, the officer recommendations with regards to parking will be debated.
“Councillors may decide to keep parking as it is, they could potentially consider extending the free parking limit, or remove paid parking all together and look at a strict time limit enforcement – there is no lack of ideas and alternatives. We won’t know until the February 20 meeting.
“It’s also important to keep in mind the State Government’s commitment to invest $14 million in parking will play a major part in the final plan and its implementation.
“We need to ensure there is a balance between people who want to pay all day and come into the CBD to work or shop and those who currently cannot park outside their own homes or around the hospital precinct.
“What’s also important to remember is that we are looking at parking options because the community told us that the current CBD parking situation is not working – in particular it is untenable in those residential areas closest to the major health services.
Mr Demeo said there has been some confusion about the options available to Councillors to debate and the recommendations in the report regarding pricing.
He said the pricing option officers have asked to be considered is: free for the first 30 minutes, $2 per hour for up to three hours after that, $4.50 for between three-six hours and $6 per hour for more than six hours.
This actually makes parking for two hours in the CBD cheaper under this option.
Other options and ideas to be considered as part of the report:
Possibility of no paid parking in zones two and three but greater enforcement instead
The expanded paid network is focused on gaps in the existing network surrounding key CBD activity areas with minimal impact on residential properties
Off street parking in the paid areas could be capped at $6.50 per day
Initial resident parking permits could be provided free, a second permit would also be free but subject to review against criteria including off and on-street parking availability, number of residents and any special circumstances, and a third permit would be considered only in exceptional circumstances and cost $200 annually, with the fee to be reviewed annually
A revised enforcement regime could be brought in, including new parking meters with number plate recognition and credit card technology and number plate recognition enforcement vehicles
The City of Ballarat to increase its advocacy for enhanced public transport, park and ride options and sustainable transport initiatives
It is proposed Council officers be authorised to liaise with the State Government over the delivery of the $14 million, 1000 free car parks within the Ballarat CBD
“There are still a number of steps to go. The State Government has indicated it may take up to 12 months to work through the options for 1000 parking spaces following its $14 million election commitment. Council will continue to work closely with the state on this to ensure the parking issues that come with the great benefits of a growing city are addressed,” Mr Demeo said.
A pop-up shop in Sturt attended by 552 people
Individual consultation sessions with key stakeholders
Ward think tanks with individual councillors
Online survey and consultation, with 1500 submissions received totalling over 500 pages
Significant social media and media presence
What did the consultation tell us?
The main issues arising from the consultation told us:
Paid parking is all three zones was excessive
Paid parking within the inner city needs to deter all day parking but encourage turn over
Better technology is supported
Park and ride options could work if convenient, safe and frequent
Residents should take priority in residential areas
Workers have a right to park close to work and for free
Infrastructure (lighting, footpaths, drainage, tree protection) upgrades need to occur along with any changes
Less people would do the wrong thing if enforcement was better
Make parking easier, not harder
Paid parking to this extent looks like a money grab
Build a multi-storey carpark
Better public transport is key
“The consultation phase has had the highest number of participants than any other consultation we’ve done,” Mr Demeo said.
“But we still want to continue to hear from the community on these and all options, and you can have your input at mysay.ballarat.vic.gov.au”
Research was also taken across other municipalities to review their approach.
Geelong, which has a similar parking problem with its hospital precinct
Warrnambool, which is leading the way in parking technology
Maribyrnong, where enforcement ensures vehicle turnover
Brisbane City, which has complex layers of restrictions and fee changes at different times of the day
Auckland, which has a paid regime that reinforces public transport and walking/cycling as the preferred transport methods