Canberra’s parking squeeze

An opinion piece published on The Canberra Times site this week discussed the reaction of the Canberra community to the news that parking inspectors increased the number of infringements by 20% during this past year, reaching a value of $7.5 million.

According to the newspaper article, Canberra’s layout is such that it makes car ownership almost mandatory, with the bus system costly to run, inefficient and frequently unreliable. We republish a section from the article below:

The amount of parking in Canberra is indeed shrinking due to planning decisions, but not out of any desire on the part of Government to trap unwary motorists and stiff them with steep fines. When land values rise, as they have in Canberra in the past two decades, the redevelopment of large blocks formerly given over to public car spaces becomes inevitable. The effects of this tightening of supply will tend to be exaggerated if more motorists are out and about looking for car parks, as has also been the case in the ACT. It is not in the interests of any community to subsidise parking for motorists. Not only does it impose costs on those who don’t drive but it distorts transport choices, encourages urban sprawl, makes housing more expensive and blights the urban landscape. Studies suggest governments should be aiming to achieve (through price signals) a balance of parking, both on-street and off, so that at any given moment 85 per cent of spots are occupied and 15 per cent are available. This is easier said than done, however. What is certain is the era of cheap and readily available parking in Canberra is passing, and motorists need to adjust their behaviour accordingly.

Spoken like a true Shoupista!

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