Council car crackdown to slash commuter parking near train stations

The council will also investigate changes to parking regulations so developers would no longer be required to provide a minimum number of resident car spaces in areas close to public transport.

This follows the lead of Moreland City Council, which in April announced it would become one of the first suburban councils to remove minimum off-street parking requirements in activity centres in Brunswick, Coburg and Glenroy.

Moreland’s move caught the attention of Planning Minister Richard Wynne, who suggested the council hadn’t considered «the practical implications» of the proposed change.

But Darebin will not be deterred.

A council map reveals the extent of the parking problem, showing that on a typical Thursday at 1pm nearly every street parking spot between St Georges Road, High Street, Heidelberg Road and Murray Road is filled.

Many of these spots are being taken up by commuters driving to train stations and tram stops, leaving little space for residents to park in their own street, the council claims.

Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie.

Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie.Credit:Justin McManus

With Darebin’s population set to rise by 40 per cent by 2041, the council estimates this would bring an extra 65,000 people into the area.

If current trends continue, the council believes this would require 41,000 extra car-parking spots — land it is no longer willing to give over to cars.

«Darebin is facing significant population growth and we cannot accommodate all of the cars that might come into our municipality,» said Darebin mayor Susan Rennie.


«Parking on the street is competing with many other land uses.»

The council hopes that by reducing all-day car parking around train stations, commuters who live close enough will instead walk or cycle to the station.

It plans to lobby the state government to halt the introduction of additional parking at train stations and to reconsider creating new car spots beneath the elevated section of rail to be built at Reservoir, Bell and Preston stations, where level crossings are being removed.

It will also advocate for new rules that restrict non-commuters from parking at stations.

«If more people access the station without a car, that will increase council’s capacity to provide accessible parking for people with disabilities and improve safety and walk-ability around the station,» the mayor said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised a $500 million commuter car park fund if the federal Coalition retained government.

A state government spokeswoman said it would press on with building 11,000 new parking spots at major train stations.

The spokeswoman said any proposed changes to parking regulations would be assessed «on their merits,” and she repeated the planning minister’s claim that there must be “consideration of the practical implications for the local community».

«We encourage councils to consult with the community on any proposed changes to ensure they deliver the right outcomes for parking availability, accessibility and local businesses.»

About 20,000 letters will go out to residents on Monday notifying them about the new parking restrictions.

The council has received 25 petitions for parking restrictions over the past year from residents complaining they can’t park in their own street.

Chris Appleby on the street outside his home.

Chris Appleby on the street outside his home.Credit:Joe Armao


Chris Appleby said parking on his street in Fairfield — which intersects with the Mernda line — is full from 8.30am until 6pm. The station is five minutes’ walk from his house.

«It wasn’t quite that bad five years ago … in the middle of the day, you have real trouble parking around where I live,» he said.

As part of its plan, council wants to stop building any new on-street public car spots within the municipality.

And it wants to repurpose some car spots to create more open space, pedestrian access, bicycle parking and retail areas.

The council will also introduce a new type of permit for carers, which would allow a dwelling to obtain a parking permit for a non-paid carer (including family members).

New parking areas for ride-share vehicles will also be considered outside train stations and schools, while people with limited mobility will also get more parking priority.

If endorsed by the council, the parking strategy will be rolled out later this year.

Timna Jacks is Transport Reporter at The Age

Most Viewed in National





You may also like...