Bicycle Network: Better Transport
Parking Offset Submission
Parking in high density Activity Centres is an ever increasing challenge. Bicycle Network Victoria has proposed an offset system that would allow developers, residents and planners to benefit from more parking; for bikes.
2 June 2009. Planning rules need a re-think so that bike parking becomes an attractive option for developers in bike friendly locations.
Councils are currently bound by the Planning Legislation in relation to how much car and bike parking must be incorporated into differing types of built form. This model states that a minimum ratio of car parking must be included to get planning approval.
In many dense areas residents, developers and traffic planners are coming to understand that these residential developments are being occupied by what we would describe as 'transport choosers', i.e. people who will readily choose to travel by public transport, by bike or by walking. This demographic modal change means that these scenarios do not necessarily need to eat up large amounts of the development's footprint with carparking.
A proposal was recently considered by Melbourne City Council for a caveat to the Planning regulations so that a developer was bound to provide a maximum, not the current minimum amount in place today.
The report tabled to Council stated "Council planning policy will require less on-site parking for occupants from development sites with excellent access to public transport and in proximity to extensive cycle and walking routes."
Bicycle Network Victoria applauds Council for this initiative but asks that the opportunity is taken to maximize the return on effort by incorporating a bike-parking-substitution provision.
As this proposal notes, a high density zone such as the City of Melbourne offers residents a greater choice for mode shift to use walking, public transport and cycling. To successfully encourage residents to shift mode to bike riding in these developments there will need to be a supply of bike parking. In general 10 bikes can be parked in one car space. Our calculations are based on this ratio.
The current Victorian regulations establish a minimum number of bicycle parks. A residential development of 100 1-2 bedroom apartments would be required to provide 20 bike parking places. The Victorian regulation was enacted in 2006 and was at the time considered conservative for the inner city as it sought to apply one standard for the whole State.
Most offices and apartments find that the bicycle parking they start with is inadequate and have to retrofit further bicycle parking capacity. It is likely in practice that a 100 apartment development in the inner city would require on average a bike park for each apartment.
We propose that the City of Melbourne, along with other Councils with similar scenarios, provides an opportunity for developers to increase the level of parking by including a ‘substitution’ clause similar to that in place in the ACT.
The ACT Parking and Vehicular Access Guidelines say:
3.2.5 (ii) Substitution
A reduction in car parking provision is permitted for offices in Commercial Land Use Policy areas where additional bicycle parking is substituted. For each Class 1 (bicycle locker) or Class 2 (secure communal compound) bicycle space (as per AS 2890.3 - 1993) provided in addition to the mandatory requirement in 3.2.5(i), the provision of car parking spaces calculated using these guidelines shall be reduced by one space, up to a maximum of five percent (5%) of the total number of car parking spaces which would be required under these guidelines. Adequate change rooms, showers and storage facilities should also be provided to encourage bicycle use.
[The ACT Guidelines are included to illustrate the principle. We don’t recommend copying the requirements of the guidelines in detail]
We do however propose that the City of Melbourne enact a substitution provision for residential property. Specifically we propose a substitution clause based on the formula of replacing one required car space by 1.5 bike parking spaces up to 50% of the required car spaces.
Below we have completed a generic scenario to illustrate our proposal
Example: A 100 1-2 bedroom residential development.
Current regulations require 1-for-1 car parking allocation plus 20 bike parking spaces.
Under the Bike Parking Substitution system a developer could remove, say, 40 car spaces.
These would be offset with 60 bike parking spaces, in addition to the current 20 bike spaces.
This would translate to a development previously required to provide 120 combined parking spots now required to provide 140 parking places, but using a much smaller footprint.
This represents a win-win for all stakeholders.
Developers can achieve a greater yield from a site and residents have a more practical dwelling. The flow on effects for the transport network in the area help Council meet its policies.