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. Revenue to support this expenditure is already being collected, from parking permits, meters and fines. If more revenue is required, it is readily available by broader reforms to how parking is priced.

Revenue from streets should be returned to streets

Yarra earns approximately $30 million each year from our streets via parking permits, parking meters and parking fines. We estimate that at present only $10-20 million of the $30 million is being returned to streets, with the rest contributing to general revenue. We’re asking for revenue from streets to be returned to streets, via a concept called Parking Benefit Districts.

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra

Extra revenue is also possible

If council chooses not to increase the budget for walking and cycling, because it would mean cuts to other services, then revenue can be raised from visitors (not residents) by reforming how parking is priced. Roughly 3/4 of Yarra’s parking bays are free (34,000 out of 47,000). Yarra could change the free parking bays to paid parking by designating them as permit zones and then selling digital permits, at a variety of prices and for a variety of durations, e.g. hour, day, week, month or year.

3/4 of Yarra’s on-street parking bays are free. Data source: City of Yarra. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra.

Many options exist for implementation, and prices could vary throughout Yarra depending upon local supply and demand. Some areas could be $10/day while others could be $20/day. For example:

  • 4,000 bays at an average of $10/day for 250 days/year would raise $10 million per year
  • 10,000 bays at an average of $10/day for 250 days/year would raise $25 million per year
  • 20,000 bays at an average of $10/day for 250 days/year would raise $50 million per year

Annual C1 permits

Alternatively, Yarra could choose to sell more of the existing ‘paper’ permits. C1 permits already exist (sometimes called a ‘councillor’ permit), and allow the holder to park in any permit zone in Yarra for a year. If Yarra sold 1,000 permits for $6,000 each, we could raise $6 million per year.

C1 parking permit. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra.

Annual neighbourhood permits

Similarly, Yarra could create and sell a new type of ‘neighbourhood’ permit, allowing the holder to park in any permit zone in a single neighbourhood, or Local Area Place Making (LAPM) precinct, for a year. If Yarra sold (on average) 200 permits in each of our 21 LAPM areas for $3,000 each, we could raise $12 million per year.

Suggested neighbourhood parking permit. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra.

Note that the City of Moreland already do something very similar, via their ‘Moreland User Pays permit‘, costing $100 for the first month and $300 for subsequent months, or $3,400 per year.

Moreland User Pays permit costs $3,400 per year. Image credit: City of Moreland.

Recover revenue from the state government parking levy

The Victorian state government imposes a parking levy in the inner city, and shares the revenue with the City of Melbourne, but not the City of Yarra. The levy applies to off-street parking bays (residential bays are exempt). The northern half of Yarra is within the blue levy area, and car park owners have to pay $1,050 per year. If the state government extended the blue car parking levy area to include the southern half of Yarra, covering a total of 20,000 off-street parking bays, and returned 50% of revenue to council, then Yarra would have $10 million per year. Update – Streets Alive Yarra wrote to the Treasurer to propose this reform, unfortunately the Treasurer responded by saying he did not support such reforms at this time.

Parts of Yarra covered by the parking levy. Image credit: https://www.sro.vic.gov.au/car-parks and Streets Alive Yarra.

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. This price would be comparable to the City of Vancouver, which charges $401 Canadian dollars per year, equivalent to $422 Australian, for residential on-street parking permits in the high demand West End area.

Price for residential on-street parking permit in the West End of Vancouver. Image credit: City of Vancouver.

These ideas aren’t new

Increasing the price of parking to provide revenue for safe travel infrastructure isn’t a new idea. Here’s a local resident suggesting it in 2016:

Image credit: City of Yarra minutes 16th February 2016

Conclusion

Revenue from streets should be returned to streets. We raise $30 million each year from our streets, and we’re asking for this to be returned to streets, for both maintenance and capital works, to support walking, rolling on a wheelchairs, cycling, public transport stops, driving, parking, trees, seating and place making. We estimate that only $10-20 million is being returned, with the rest contributing to general revenue. If Council chooses not to do this, and instead wishes to raise new revenue, the options described above can easily raise $10-50 million per year.

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