Extracting Maximum Benefit from Parking Policy - 10 Years of Experience in Perth, Australia.
E Richardson, Sinclair Knight Merz, AU
The Perth parking policy and licence fee (levy) has reduced car travel and congestion and has been used as a circuit breaker in the development of more sustainable transport and land use policies for central Perth.
The Perth parking policy and licence fee (levy) was introduced in 1999. At this time the author was Director of Metropolitan Strategy, responsible for its implementation. The major drivers for development of the new policy were:
? concern with increasing congestion and deterioration in air quality in central Perth;
? recognition that the doubling of parking that occurred from the early 1970s to the early 1990s was unsustainable.
The Perth parking policy is a joint policy of the City of Perth and the State Government of Western Australia. The main elements of the policy are:
? licencing of all non-residential parking with an annual licence fee payable for public and private off-street parking and public on-street parking administered by the City of Perth. A few exemptions apply. All fees are paid into a trust account and all funds must be used for improvements to public transport or the pedestrian environment within the City of Perth. To date, all revenue has been used to fund revenue foregone from operation of the city centre free transit zone and the operation of three Central Area Transit (CAT) services that provide free travel between the major bus and rail stations and important business, education, medical and tourist precincts.
? establishment of strict legal maximum levels of parking for new non-residential development within the city, based on the ground floor space of developable land.
? establishment of three parking zones to control public parking ? a pedestrian priority zone where no parking is permitted; a short stay zone where long stay (all day) parking is not permitted; and a general parking zone, which is on the perimeter of the city.
Ten years after implementation of the Perth parking policy:
? there has been a 10% reduction of parking within the City of Perth;
? the mode share of journey to work in central Perth has shifted significantly from car to public transport ? car 17% down and public transport up 27%;
? car travel on city streets and on approach roads to the city has decreased;
? the city has continued to experience strong economic vitality and growth of both employment and retail.
The paper explores the role the Perth parking policy has played in reduced car travel to the city. It is concluded that the Perth parking policy has made a major contribution to city planning and development as part of an integrated package of measures designed to restrain the growth of car travel to, from and within the city. Furthermore, it has contributed to improvement of the central Perth public transport system by providing funding for the free CAT bus services and compensating for the revenue loss from operation of the free transit zone within the Perth parking management area.
The paper also discusses and acknowledges the contribution the Perth parking policy has made to the development of more sustainable transport and access policies for the Perth central area. Whereas twenty years ago, the city council was reluctant to impose any restraint on the growth of car travel to the city, fearing it would impact negatively on the economic health of the city, this is no longer the case. There is now a more mature understanding and awareness that less car access can improve amenity and that good quality public transport can improve accessibility and maintain a strong local economy.
Current city transport policy is to:
? increase the number of people entering the city without increasing the number of cars;
? create a place where people can move around freely and efficiently, primarily by non-car modes, within a safe, easily understood and attractive environment;
? ensure intensive and mixed land uses and major facilities are developed in locations that are well served by public transport.
The City of Perth and State Government authorities are currently planning a network of public transport priority routes to and through the city and a return to traditional two way streets that favour connectivity over capacity.
The paper concludes that the Perth parking policy has made a major contribution to reducing car travel to and within central Perth. The continued strong economic performance of the city, combined with improved amenity from less traffic has provided decision makers with the confidence to support on-going measures to restrain car access through the redistribution of street space for improved pedestrian and bicycle facilities and for public transport priority measures.
Association for European Transport