This discussion paper has been prepared to inform the Australian community’s understanding of the issues surrounding parking management in central Canberra and to engender comment and feedback on the options for managing parking in the study area.
The approach taken by the Intergovernmental Committee on Parking (IGC) is to treat parking management in the same manner as any other public policy issue. The IGC has endeavoured to comprehensively analyse the nature of any problem with the current arrangements prior to considering whether any change is needed, what form any change should take or who should manage any change. This analysis has been informed by robust and transparent evidence about parking supply and demand.
Material in this discussion paper is based on research commissioned by the IGC and by review of previous studies and reviews that have examined parking in the suburbs of Parkes, Barton and Russell.
This paper describes in detail the complexities evident in the car parking dynamics of Parkes, Barton and Russell, and issues that may affect parking supply and demand in the near future. This paper also examines those issues that require consideration in the formulation of any parking management strategy or policy, some of which are very particular to the study area.
The work of the IGC has revealed that, while planning policies used to guide development of the study area have, to date; provided enough car parking spaces to meet commuter demand, restrictions on access to the available parking is resulting in an undersupply of publicly available car parks.
Very recent changes in Barton, particularly the reoccupation of the Edmund Barton Building and the introduction of pay parking on Section 9 Barton have significantly changed commuter parking patterns in the study area. Commuters who previously used the car park in Section 9 Barton are for the most part, parking elsewhere to avoid parking charges.
Coinciding with the introduction of parking charges has been an increase in complaints regarding difficulty in locating a car park by visitors to the national institutions and Australian Government offices in the Parliamentary Zone.
Some evidence suggests that commuters are displacing visitors by using car parks intended for visitors to the national institutions or, aware of constraints on enforcement, are parking informally or illegally. The IGC anticipates that this pattern will continue as the workforce in Barton expands and will potentially be exacerbated as commuters seek to avoid parking charges introduced in Barton. This situation is likely to remain until measures are put in place to manage supply of, or demand for, car parking in the Parliamentary Zone.
The Parliamentary Zone is the symbolic and ceremonial heart of Australia. Increased use of this area as an overflow car park for Barton will significantly disrupt accessibility to the national institutions, diminish the visitor experience and compromise National and Commonwealth heritage values. To avoid this outcome changes to parking management practices throughout the study area will be necessary.
Options to address the growth in parking demand include:
- increasing supply to meet demand, through construction of new structured car parking (whether by the private sector or government);
- applying demand management measures, such as parking pricing or a permit scheme, supported by alternative transport options (such as public transport or car pooling systems) to encourage modal shift; or
- a combination of both.
The parking management options described in this paper are by no means comprehensive. It should also be noted that a single solution might not be appropriate to apply in all areas. Giving due consideration to the array of issues that need consideration, it is likely the IGC’s recommended parking strategy will incorporate a variety of means to manage parking.
Following feedback on the discussion paper, the IGC will develop policy options for parking management in the study area, and develop a preferred strategy to recommend to the Australian and ACT Governments.