The City of Yarra manages 260 kilometres of road pavement in accordance with multiple policies and strategies, including the Local Area Place Making (LAPM) process. The municipality is divided up into 21 LAPM areas and Officers work with residents and ratepayers to identify how to make best use of our public land (our streets) and where to direct new investments in infrastructure.
The main problem with the LAPM process is the limited available budget of roughly $200k per LAPM for safe travel infrastructure. This isn’t enough to deliver significant changes or improvements. Another problem is that only two LAPMs are completed each year. Once a LAPM review has been completed, residents need to wait 10 years for their area to be looked at again. This is too slow to cope with our rapid pace of population increase and boom in construction.
LAPMs need $10m per year
To deliver effective improvements in placemaking and safe travel infrastructure, Yarra needs to invest $10m per year. This budget can deliver five LAPMs per year, each with a budget of $2m. With good planning, all 21 LAPMs can be completed in each 4-year term of Council, much faster than the present 10-year cycle.
Investing $10m per year in placemaking and safe travel infrastructure will enable our children to ride to school, sport and friends houses, helping make Yarra better for children. Streets that are safe for children are also safe for adults, particularly our elderly residents, helping make Yarra an 8 to 80 city, enabling people to age for longer in their own home.
How to raise $10m per year
Yarra can raise $10m per year without increasing rates, fees or charges for residents, by selling car parking permits to non-residents. These new permits would be unsubsidised, and the price would be set to match the market rate for parking.
The City of Moreland has recently adopted a new Integrated Transport Strategy and Parking Implementation Plan, which includes a new class of “Flexible” parking permit:
Moreland’s “Flexible” permit is similar to the “Yarra Online Visitor Permit” proposed in a previous article. If Moreland can do it, then Yarra can too. For example, if Yarra sold 3,000 annual permits at $3,500 each, this would raise $10m per year. Many variations on this concept are possible, including options for monthly, weekly and daily permits. If the permits sell out quickly, then the price can be raised until demand is balanced with supply.
Space for 10% extra permits
Yarra already sells ~ 30,000 annual parking permits to residents and businesses, so selling 3,000 extra permits would be a 10% increase. To avoid increasing Yarra’s parking crunch, the number of “permit only” parking bays can easily be increased by more than 10% by converting time-limited parking bays, such as 4-hour or 2-hour, to permit only parking.
Economic rationalism and social equity
Selling parking permits to non-residents and using the revenue to invest in placemaking and safe travel infrastructure delivers a win-win for both economic rationalism and social equity. Commuters can benefit from a more reliable access to a parking spot. Residents can benefit from improved infrastructure.
Part of a broad reform of parking
Creating and selling a new class of “Flexible” or “Yarra Online Visitor Permit” can be the first step of a broad reform of how Yarra manages parking. Further steps can gradually remove all free parking in Yarra, by converting all parking bays to either metered parking or permit only parking. Visitors and commuters would need to use a metered parking bay or purchase a daily version of the “Yarra Online Visitor Permit”.
The City of Yarra can raise $10m per year for placemaking and safe travel infrastructure; without increasing rates, fees or charges for residents; by selling car parking permits to non-residents. These new permits would be unsubsidised, and the price would be set to match the market rate for parking. As part of a broader reform of how Yarra manages parking, selling permits can deliver a win-win for both economic rationalism and social equity.
Originally published on 7th April 2019 as an article on LinkedIn.