What is ‘commuter car parking’ or ‘Federal Government funded commuter car parks’?

The Australian Government is investing $368 million towards commuter car parking across Melbourne as part of their Urban Congestion Fund to encourage greater use of public transport.

Council received an initial $2.25 million to undertake feasibility studies on potentially suitable locations to improve commuter car parking on Council owned land, including near Camberwell Station, to understand opportunities and constraints.

How was the proposed site selected and why?

Council conducted feasibility studies on 2 Council-owned sites (Junction West and Harold Street) for commuter car parking near Camberwell Station and Burke Road trams to determine the most suitable location.

Factors influencing site selection included:

  • proximity to station, trams and buses within walking distance
  • looking only at existing car parking sites on Council owned land (to ensure no change in land use)
  • site constraints such as services underground and existing delivery routes to supermarket loading docks.

A third site was considered at Station Street, with high cost estimate to underground parking making the site unviable.

Is there strategic alignment for this project with existing Council Plans and Strategies?

Throughout the development of a number of Council Plans and Strategies, our community have told us that adjusting car parking to better suit their needs is a key priority.

These existing plans and strategies include:

  • Integrated Transport Strategy
    • Aims to provide improved travel and access within, to and from Boroondara. In particular, it aims to provide improved public transport, walking and cycling provision, and manage private car travel more effectively, including through park and ride facilities.
  • Boroondara Community Plan 2021-31
    • Theme 4: Neighbourhood Character and Heritage
      • Strategy 4.4: New development positively contributes to amenity and liveability through design excellence.
    • Theme 5: Moving Around
      • Strategy 5.2: Traffic congestion is better managed through advocacy to State and Federal governments for changes to main roads.
      • Strategy 5.5: Sustainable transport use is encouraged and supported through delivery of green travel programs and advocacy to State and Federal Governments.

Will parking be free?

Yes, these additional car parking spaces will be free (subject to periodic review).

It is proposed there will be a mix of short-term parking and long-term parking available for the community to access, including people catching trams trains and buses from Camberwell or visitors to the precinct.

What are the potential negative impacts of this project on the local community?

While there are a range of benefits to be realised by constructing additional car parking capacity at the Junction West site, our thorough feasibility studies have indicated some potential impacts being:

  • increased traffic movements in and out of the carpark site*
  • temporary loss of some parking during construction
  • generation of noise and dust during construction.

*The independent traffic report states “the additional traffic that is anticipated to be generated by the site doesn’t fundamentally change the existing operation of the intersection”, acknowledging that traffic volume at arterial road intersections are already busy as common throughout metropolitan Melbourne. The full report can be made available upon request.

What are the potential benefits of this project for local traders?

By constructing additional car parking capacity at the Junction West site, local traders could benefit from:

  • greater visitation with free short and long-term parking, encouraging people to shop and dine within the precinct
  • an improved local economy, particularly during the recovery phase from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • competing with nearby shopping centres like Westfield and Chadstone by offering more parking options
  • improved pedestrian access through the busy Harold Street car park
  • better disability access to the existing multi-deck car park with the addition of a lift.

Why are commuter carparks considered in Camberwell?

Camberwell Station is a well utilised origin and destination station on the Lilydale, Belgrave and Alamein lines and has limited commuter car parking. Council is proposing to offer short term and long term parking at this car park to encourage people to make the switch from driving to the CBD to park and ride using public transport. The additional parking is also in demand on weekends from the broader community including shoppers, visitors and workers.

How much of ratepayers’ money is Council spending on this project?

If successful in receiving Australian Government funding for this project, no Council funding will be required as the federal funding will cover the total costs.

How will Council ensure this car parking site is safe and secure?

The development of detailed concept plans which incorporate features important to our community is paramount.

Ensuring the car parking sites are safe and secure is a key priority, through things like:

  • passive surveillance
  • natural and green energy powered lighting
  • activation around the structure
  • consideration of CCTV.

Will any private properties, businesses or open spaces be acquired to develop this car parking site?

No. This car park would be developed on existing Council-owned land currently used for car parking without impact on existing residential and commercial properties or open space.

I’m worried about multi-deck developments. How high would the car park be?

The proposal is to create approximately 90 additional car parking spaces by adding an extra level on the existing multi deck car park. Restricting development to the existing multi-deck ensures the character of the precinct is maintained.

What are the next steps following the community consultation?

This community consultation findings will be compiled into a report for consideration by Council ahead of further discussions with the Australian Government.

In considering the consultation findings and pending formal Council support, we will proceed with developing detailed designs for the car park.

If this project proceeds, when will these car parks be open to the public?

We would expect construction to commence in mid-2023 and be completed in 2024.