Strong community support to establish a framework that proactively manages parking for the region has contributed to Sunshine Coast Council's decision to endorse the Sunshine Coast Parking Management Plan today (October 12).
The plan will guide parking activities to help maintain the Sunshine Coast’s distinctive lifestyle and manage parking demand while providing easy and affordable access to popular business centres, beaches and community facilities.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said the comprehensive Parking Management Plan and 37 Local Area Parking Plans were an important part of council’s commitment to long-term planning for the Sunshine Coast.
“The Parking Management Plan is now in place and the actions identified by the community will now be progressed, based on budget priorities and individual area needs,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“It is vital that we manage the greater demand for car parking that will exist as our region continues to grow at a rate higher than other Queensland regions.
“This parking plan applies common sense solutions and will take advantage of the existing and new technology that is available in this area.
“What we have to acknowledge is that in tackling congestion, there really are only two levers available – better, more extensive and integrated public transport solutions and how we manage car parking demand.
“The public transport solution rests with the State Government, and we are overdue for commitments to improve what is currently a woeful public transport network, while council has the authority to manage car parking demand.
“We have the Parking Management Plan; where is the State Government’s and our local state representatives’ public transport plan?”
Mayor Jamieson said council would continue to maintain a vigorous advocacy approach with the State Government and look at opportunities for private investment with a view to securing an effective, integrated public transport solution for the region, highlighted by light rail.
“Our Parking Management Plan identifies the need for investment in public transport infrastructure to reduce parking demand as well as congestion,” he said.
“Through sound planning, our council consistently aims to maintain our lifestyle advantages and the distinctive character of the communities that make up our region.
“Our Parking Management Plan will help us proactively manage parking while recognising the existing and future demands of residents, business and visitors.
“In short, this plan will help to shape a region - and a future - that is healthy, smart and creative”.
Transport Portfolio Councillor Rick Baberowski said the newly-adopted Parking Management Plan and its associated Local Area Parking Plans for 37 areas across the Coast built on council’s current approaches to managing parking.
“There already is a well-established approach to managing parking, progressing from an unregulated arrangement to a highly regulated environment as demand increases. This approach will continue,” Cr Baberowski said.
“Community feedback received during consultation has helped to finalise the Parking Management Plan by confirming the proposals and raising issues for further consideration.
“A number of submissions showed strong interest in, and understanding of, the critical role an effective public transport system plays as well as ensuring developers provide enough on-site parking, particularly for staff, where it’s a commercial development.
“Another key concern raised by the community was the need to investigate and introduce parking-related smart technology.
“Council aims to integrate technology into paid parking facilities to help make it easier for people to find car parking sites and available spaces, such as replacing and upgrading the existing meters in Caloundra in early 2018.
“Another short term priority will be to develop a parking investment fund policy, to address both revenue and expenditure guidelines, taking into account levels of charge, locality variations, targets of investment and financial responsibilities.
“Paid parking – a user pays system – will only be considered in exceptional cases where demand for car parks is consistently high in areas such as larger urban centres, and where its effects will increase turnover of parking spaces.
“I stress, council will look at all other parking strategies before implementing paid parking.
“Council will continue to support travel behaviour change programs that reduce the community’s dependence on private motor vehicles and moderate demand for parking.
“Thank-you again to those who participated in the community consultation sessions and provided their valuable feedback, which helped to finalise these documents.”
The Sunshine Coast Council Parking Management Plan is an important part of the overall Sunshine Coast transport system.
Fewer private vehicle trips and a subsequent reduction in parking demand will only be achieved if the State Government delivers a significantly improved public transport system and an attractive active transport network, encouraging more people to walk and cycle.
Paid parking is already in place in the Caloundra CBD, at the University of the Sunshine Coast and at the Sunshine Coast Airport - and was recently introduced at Birtinya.
As outlined in the local area parking plans, paid parking is proposed to be introduced in limited areas within the Maroochydore city centre now under development, Mooloolaba and the emerging town centre at Sippy Downs.
Community involvement in the parking management plan
Council staff undertook wide consultation with community and special interest groups about the content of the draft plan. More than 700 survey responses were received.
There was a rigorous analysis of community responses. Community feedback helped, within the intent of the Parking Management Plan, to:
- further understand the community’s views on paid parking, development-provided parking, parking supply, time restrictions, public transport, active lifestyle strategies, such as biking to work, and the need for the Sunshine Coast to have a complete solution for managing transport related growth on the Sunshine Coast
- clarify the explanation of proposed parking management options described in Local Area Parking Plans
- align the Parking Management Plan and Local Area Parking Plans with other relevant plans, such as the Caloundra Centre Master Plan.