Parking maximums define the maximum number of off-street car parks that can be built as part of new developments, and typically replace prior implementations of mandatory parking minimums. Parking maximums act to slow the growth in the provision of off-street parking, and thus slow the growth in peak-hour traffic congestion.

Parking maximums are already used by the City of Melbourne and the City of Port Phillip, as well as London and Zurich.

The problem of parking minimums

Yarra, like much of greater Melbourne, suffers from the cost of multiple externalities caused by mandatory parking minimums, such as:

  • increased peak-hour traffic congestion, because if more parking is available at a destination then more people will drive there;
  • increased cost of housing, particularly impacting upon affordable housing, because the cost of parking is added to the cost of the house; and
  • increased cost of goods and services, because the cost of parking is added to the cost of commercial rent, which is passed on to customers by the tenant business.

Unintended consequences

Parking interacts with other aspects of transport choice and land use planning, creating unintended consequences:

Consequences of more parking. Image credit: Donald Shoup

Existing Yarra policy

The City Of Yarra imposes mandatory parking minimums via Table 1 in Clause 52.06 of the Yarra Planning Scheme. The table spans over 4 pages, defining requirements for different types of buildings.

Source: Yarra Planning Scheme

What Yarra can do

Yarra can eliminate parking minimums, and even better, impose parking maximums. At the same time, Yarra can manage the demand for on-street parking by using demand responsive parking charges (for metered parking bays) as well as protecting residential parking by expanding the use of permit only zones.

In Yarra, we can easily double the number of parking bays that are permit only, and we can easily add parking meters (with demand responsive pricing) to the first 5-10 bays on each side street alongside shopping streets.

Guidance from other councils

The City of Melbourne imposes parking maximums:

Schedule 1 of the Parking Overlay 45.09. Source: City of Melbourne.

The City of Port Phillip imposes parking maximums:

Schedule 1 of the Parking Overlay 45.09. Source: City of Port Phillip.

Guidance from other cities

Around the world, London and Zurich impose parking maximums.

Further guidance

Further guidance is available from ACCESS Magazine Issue 49:

Or from this video: