While car parking is becoming increasingly scarce in Australia's major cities, this doesn't necessarily bode ill for the state of urban transportation.
A new study has found that the volume of car parking available in the CBD’s of Australia’s major cities is becoming highly constricted, causing a surge in the price for stowing vehicles.
According to Collier’s The Evolution of Car Parking report no new stand-alone parking facilities are currently planned for the downtown areas of any of Australia’s major cities. while fewer car parks are currently slated for inclusion within new office or residential developments situated in CBD’s.
Historical data shows that Australia’s biggest cities have posted incremental growth in parking spaces over the past decade, with Melbourne gaining only 2,476 new spots since 2007 and Sydney an extremely modest 766.
As a result of these dilatory increases Sydney and Melbourne have some of the lowest CBD parking space to worker ratios in the world, at 12.2 and 14.2 respectively in 2015.
According to Brett Skyring of Panther Consultant Planners, this trend need not bode poorly for the transportation needs of Australia’s major cities,
“From my perspective we are already providing too much car parking, with insufficient focus on quality public transportation,” said Skyring to Sourceable. “Car parking in urban areas is extremely expensive – even in place like Brisbane where it’s far easier to find compared to other major Australian cities.”
Skyring point a global shift towards greater emphasis on public transportation amongst leading international cities, given the immense congestion problems created by personal automobile usage, as well as the exorbitant cost of the prime real-estate consumed by car parks in downtown areas.
“Big cities around the world are moving away from building car parks, or even actively discouraging their construction,” said Skyring.. “They’re instead shifting towards really improving the quality of public transportation in downtown areas, with things like light rail.”
In addition to improving the quality of public transportation, Skyring also notes that efforts to increase the usage of such transit systems will further diminish reliance upon the automobile and related facilities.
“Alternative methodologies are available for encouraging people to get on public transportation, and really incentivise its usage, which will in turn reduce the need for car parks in urban areas.”
The inclusion of car parking facilities can have a highly negative impact upon housing affordability in urban areas.
A recent study by Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability explored the impact of car parking on the rental prices for residential units. Their data indicated that rent rose sharply in tandem with the calibre of attached car parking options.
While rent for a unit with no parking was estimated to be around $800 a month, the same unit with the minimal car parking option of a surface spot commanded a rate of $1,200, for an increase of 50 per cent.
A residential unit of commensurate quality in a building with underground parking is even more expensive, commanding monthly rent of around $1,300. This means that tenant must pay a 62.5 per cent premium simply to obtain a sheltered spot for sequestering his or her vehicle, occupying a modest amount of area compared to the actual unit itself.