Ipswich City Council is looking at a six-month trial of a 15-minute free parking “grace” period for parking areas within the city centre.
A report to the General Purposes Committee yesterday also recommended a six-month trial regarding the removal of Saturday timed and price parking within the Ipswich city centre.
The recommendations are from a new City of Ipswich Parking Pricing Strategy which will go before the full council next Tuesday, 30 June.
The report said parking is one of the biggest challenges facing local governments, including Ipswich, given the impacts of population growth, increased traffic and congestion, and the associated demands on transport infrastructure (including parking) and can often require significant attention, resources and investment.
Council provides more than 3,500 parking spaces in the Ipswich City Centre, which includes both on-street and off-street spaces. Of these parking spaces, approximately 710 spaces are subject to priced parking while the remaining are either unrestricted or managed using time restrictions.
In the past, priced parking areas have been established on an ad-hoc basis in response to high parking demands, and in isolation of an overarching policy. Council’s review of priced parking in the past has been sporadic and mostly limited to simple increases based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
“This strategy provides a framework for priced parking, allowing council to respond to different parking contexts in a systematic and consistent manner,” the report said.
It looks at seven overarching aspects of priced parking, which tie in with council’s iGO – The City of Ipswich Transport Plan, that have been designed to assist council to manage priced parking within activity centres and apply supporting parking management tools. These include:
- Adopting the City of Ipswich parking management framework
- Fee structures
- Price adjustments to parking
- Parking revenue distribution
- Periodically review data
- Parking technology
Council sought feedback from the community and industry with almost 300 responses to a survey received.
The strategy had recommended that a 15 minute free parking ‘grace’ period be investigated further. Feedback received from the questionnaire indicated that the public were very supportive of this concept. A trial period has now been recommended.
The strategy recommended that Saturday priced parking remain unchanged within the Ipswich City Centre. However, based on community feedback and current low parking occupancy rates within the city centre, a trial period has now been recommended for the removal of Saturday timed and priced parking within the Ipswich city centre.
More than half of respondents did not support council’s current fee structure. However, it should be noted that the majority of responses were opposed to the concept of priced parking rather than the fee schedule itself. The strategy recommends that no changes are required to the current pricing structure in the short-term.
The report also recommended that council commence investigations into the alternative use of parking revenue for the purpose of sustainable transport initiatives, but not prior to the 2021-22 financial year.
More than half of respondents indicated that improved public transport would provide them with a viable alternative to driving and parking within an activity centre.
Deputy Mayor Marnie Doyle, speaking at the committee meeting, said the CBD and businesses had been struggling for a long time and the trials were a “great initiative” and would be welcomed by retailers and shoppers. Fellow Division 3 Councillor Andrew Fechner said it was a good outcome for locals.