Item 9.5 of the latest agenda features a four page officer report on what is purportedly on parking facilities and conditions in the General Residential Zone (GRZ) and the Residential Growth Zone (RGZ). The recommendations are farcical –

That Council:

  1. notes this report
  2. continues to review parking in Glen Eira’s Residential Growth Zones and General Residential Zones in conjunction with the actions associated with the Transport Strategy.

What makes these recommendations so unacceptable is:

  • We know of no report in the past ten years which has investigated parking (as opposed to traffic management) in these growth areas
  • Residents have bemoaned the lack of parking year after year and basically nothing has been done
  • We doubt that council even knows how many parking spots are currently available for shoppers, businesses and residents in the housing diversity areas
  • We also wonder how many parking spots have been ceded to developers because of crossovers and the waiving of onsite car parking spots. One resident several years ago, calculated that just in East Bentleigh over 300 places had been waived.

And all of this has been happening despite the promises made over ten years ago and included in the planning scheme. For example:

Investigating the need for a cash-in-lieu policy to fund new car parks in various commercial centres.

Parking precinct plans

The City of Glen Eira recognises the special and often conflicting parking needs of its numerous commercial centres. Further strategic work is necessary to develop Parking Precinct Plans

Preparing Parking Precinct Policies for the following neighbourhood centres:

􀂂 Alma Village, Caulfield Park, Caulfield South, Bentleigh East, Glen Huntly, Ormond.

􀂃 Investigating the need for a cash-in-lieu policy to fund new car parks in various commercial centres.

Implementing a program of Local Area Traffic Management Plans in order to minimise disruption and increase safety of residential areas.

In Glen Eira, despite these promises there is:

  • No cash in lieu. Residents should note that Banyule Council has just had an amendment gazetted which imposes a $17,500 levy on each car parking waiver for its commercial sites.
  • No parking precinct plans for any activity centre or neighbourhood centre as promised
  • No Local Area Traffic Management Plans exist

So exactly what has this council been doing for the past ten or so years? Apart from outsourcing its Traffic Management Department at great expense, it would appear to have done bugger all!

The current 4 page ‘report’ continues this trend of ‘let’s do nothing but wait’. Basically, the report is nothing more than a rose-coloured summary of the situation. Facts and statistics are non-existent. Instead we get such comments –

Council’s Statutory Planning unit has found that applicants generally provide adequate parking for the dwellings themselves. However, it is common for applicants to request a reduction in the visitor car parking guideline

Similarly, when planning decisions are challenged at VCAT, it is usual for VCAT to uphold the dwelling parking provision, and common for VCAT to reduce the requirement for visitor car parking.

Conveniently missing from the above paragraphs is the additional fact that council’s planning department itself often waives visitor car parking and loading bay requirements – as it has done in the very first application set down for this same council meeting (Item 9.1 – Neerim Road/Elliott Avenue). Even when VCAT is involved, decision after decision shows how little council’s transport department has done to counter the claim of the developer in regard to parking facilities. Here’s just one example –

Council put to me that they accept that the provision of 12 spaces is adequate for the site….The development generates a requirement for 13.2 car spaces in total…..First Angle v  Glen Eira  CC [2016] VCAT 1124 (6 July 2016)

In the end we’re left with nothing more than further promises of action. Not action NOW, but in 18+ months time as evidenced in this paragraph from the report –

Transport Strategy

The recently adopted Transport Strategy Action Plan calls for car parking surveys to be undertaken in the Urban Villages (Activity Centres) and key Neighbourhood Centres in the next eighteen months. These car parking studies will provide Council with more information to enable the impacts of car parking in the RGZ and GRZ1 to be assessed in more detail. Furthermore, the Strategy calls for a review of the feasibility of Car Share arrangements and the development of a Car Share Policy. The scope of the policy could cover both car share for public car spaces, and for private car spaces in a development.

With modern technology nothing should take 18 months for ‘detail’ to be forthcoming. If other councils can get off their backsides with amendments that exact an appropriate cost to developers and implement local traffic management plans, then Glen Eira’s reluctance to undertake the necessary work now is simply another indication of either sheer incompetence or the pro-development ethos that has given us the zones and all its ills!