Session coverage by guest blogger Yvonne Kirk
- Presented by Harry Barber (LinkedIn)
- Location: Room Four
- Time: Session #3 (12:20pm - 12:55pm)
- Number of Attendees: 15
- Format: Presentation and discussion
Harry is the former CEO of Bicycle Network Victoria and is currently at ICLEI, Local Governments for Sustainability
Harry Barber provided a ‘thriller’ about parking in cities. The first part was The Third Thing and this is parking. Parking is where mobility meets land use. People visualise mobility and they visualise land use, but they forget parking. Parking is The Third Thing.
The story in Australia so far…
Roads have been the same as they have been for 100 years more or less, land space has been fixed but the significant increase in population has created a dramatic tension. Further to this jobs have moved further away from the home which has resulted in poor outcomes. To explain using a bee analogy: one bee in Clayton and one been in Brunswick means you don’t get very good honey.
Space is very valuable and we spend a lot of time on trying to use space more efficiently in land use planning.
High density housing is an efficient use of land space. In fact Harry equates these to workshop and storage space. To illustrate this he showed a picture of an old workshop with shelves poorly stacked and with spaces everywhere. This was contrasted with an Amazon warehouse where ever inch of space was efficiently used to stack books or goods. High-density high-rise housing is racking Amazon-style. This style of housing is getting more common in Melbourne and to allow for even more efficient use of space dwellings are decreasing in size. Since 2004 100m2 apartments have become 80m2. Space is being used more efficiently.
By contrast parking will stop you moving things down your pipe, stop you moving bikes or PT. Parking is working against all these efforts we’re trying to do to get efficient use of land space.
Transport space is like a pipe. We need a clear path for people, goods, transport to be able to move along it. Enter the villain...parking. Parking will stop you making the most efficient use of your transport space. People need cars. Cars need to be parked somewhere. Parking on streets and even footpaths (examples from England shown) mean that pathways are not clear. Parking will sit on top of open space, will sit on top of spaces that could be open space. Parking will sit on beaches.
Parking will also destroy your land value. Comparison of American cities and how much land they are giving to parking. The parking system encourages people to circulate - racking and stacking. Parking ratios are often wrong. Sports stadiums have masses of parking, but are only used once a week. Shopping centres also have lots of parking, but it isn’t used when it is closed.
To solve such problems we can manage by occupancy. Examples include: timers on parking spaces same as timed toilets, or dryers at laundromat. Once your time is up you’re out or you’re fine. Enforcement of such a system is necessary for it to be effective.
Or bring in an MCG pricing system, i.e. people are charged for parking closer to the destination as you are charged at the MCG for being closer to the action.
Or time of day charging - price for parking is more at peak hours.
We know all these things are possible. Two cities have done something about it.
They have put in sensors to measure occupancy of the car park. Once 80% occupancy is passed price for parking increases. You can download an app to see what current occupancy level is and what is being charged for pricing. The benefits are that they’ve managed to stop people circulating looking for a car park, the certainty in parking has brought more people to the retail outlets and so increased their income and they’ve reduced congestion.
They have a day once a year when they measure occupancy and use that to adjust their parking charges accordingly for the following year. They send an annual report to their citizens with the adjustments in pricing detailed.
Currently Melbourne has the sensor system used in San Francisco, but they are only currently used to let parking inspectors know how long cars have been parked.
The second part of the thriller is The Big Squeeze
Parking is now on the run. There are a number of things that are influencing parking. Car parking is being converted into residential areas in Melbourne. In fact 1000 car parks have been lost this year in the central city. Car parking is now very valuable residential land and is 5 times more valuable when used for housing rather than parking.