How can we raise $10 million per year for our streets?

Streets Alive Yarra is calling on the City of Yarra to allocate $10 million per year for capital expenditure on active transport and local area place making, an order of magnitude higher than what we are spending now. Revenue to to support this expenditure is readily available.

Revenue from streets should be returned to streets

Yarra earns $30 million each year from our streets via parking permits, parking meters and parking fines. At the moment, only $20 million is returned to streets, via $10 million on maintenance (such as re-sheeting) and $10 million on Council Officer salaries (transport, traffic & parking teams). The remaining $10 million is spent in other ways.

If residents and ratepayers feel that driving & parking is their only real transport option, because other modes aren’t safe or convenient, then they may feel that parking fees are a form of extortion. To counteract this, all revenue from streets should be returned to streets to increase safety and convenience of walking, cycling and public transport.

We already return $20 million to streets via maintenance and salaries for Officers who manage streets. We’re asking for the remaining $10 million to be allocated to capital works for walking, cycling and place making via the Local Area Place Making (LAPM) process.

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra

Parking benefit districts

The concept of returning revenue from parking fees to local areas was developed by Donald Shoup and called Parking Benefit Districts.

Image credit: Access Magazine

$10m extra revenue from streets is also possible

If Council refuses to return the revenue from streets back to our streets, because it would mean cuts to other services, then several options exist to raise $10 million per year for active transport and local area place making, including:

  • Offer a new class of parking permit
  • Convert free time-limited parking to metered parking
  • Apply the state government parking levy
  • Increase the charge for parking permits

Offer a new class of parking permit

The City of Moreland recently created a new class of parking permit that is not subsidised, called a ‘Moreland User Pays permit‘, costing $3,400 per year. Yarra can do this too, or something similar, for example offering an unsubsidised on-street parking permit to residents who are not eligible for a subsidised permit. The unsubsidised permit would be linked to a vehicle registration number so it couldn’t be transferred. If Yarra sold 3,000 permits for $3,400 each, then Yarra would raise an extra $10 million per year. For further information refer to our Manifesto for Reform.

Moreland user pays permit $3,400 per year. Image credit: City of Moreland.

Convert free time-limited parking to metered parking

Yarra offers thousands of free parking bays around the municipality. Some have 4-hour, 2-hour or 1-hour time limits, while others are completely unlimited. If Yarra converted 5,000 time-limited parking bays to metered bays which generated $10 per day for 200 days per year then Yarra would raise an extra $10 million per year.

Council assets can generate revenue. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra.

Apply the state government parking levy

The Victorian state government charges a parking levy in the inner city, and shares the revenue with Councils. The levy applies to all car parking bays that are available for use by the public. Some parts of Yarra are already within the blue levy area, and car park owners have to pay $1,020 per year. If Council asked the state government to extend the blue car parking levy area to include all of the City of Yarra, and shared the revenue with Council, then Yarra could (maybe) raise an extra $10 million per year.

Increase the charge for parking permits

Yarra sells approximately 30,000 parking permits each year, of various types. The price for a first permit is 11 cents per day ($41 per year). If the price was increased to $1 per day ($365 per year) then Yarra would raise an extra $10 million per year.

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra

Conclusion

Revenue from streets should be returned to streets. We already return $20 million of our $30 million revenue to our streets, via maintenance and Officer salaries. The remaining $10 million should also be returned to streets, via capital works within the LAPM process. If Council chooses not to do this, and instead wishes to raise $10 million of new revenue, the options described above can easily raise the required amount.