There doesn’t seem to be a caretaker period for the currently underway (by postal ballot) Melbourne City Council elections, because amidst the large quantity of campaign materials from the candidates for Lord Mayor came a letter advising me of a plan to restrict to one the number carspaces in new residental developments in Carlton.
I’m not sure what any of the candidates think about this proposal. Just as Krystian Seibert (getting his second mention in less than a week) argues convincingly against minimum car spaces, I don’t think there is adequate justification for a maximum number. While it is true, as the letter points out, that there is good public transport in inner Melbourne, that’s only useful if residents don’t have to travel anywhere else.
It also assumes that households are interdependent members of the same family likely to travel together. That may be true out in the suburbs, but in the inner city there are lot of group households where people share the rent and bills but live otherwise separate lives.
The effect of this proposal will be to push up the rent of older dwellings that do have multiple car spaces, forcing group households who can’t afford the higher rents to move further out from the city. Some of them will then drive back in, reintroducing the traffic problems this policy will supposedly ease and putting more pressure on parking. It will steer population change in favour of singles and couples who can do with one car.
With appropriately priced street parking, the solution to this is just to leave it to the market. There are people (like me) who don’t have a car and would buy an apartment that had no parking (my empty car space under the building costs me thousands in interest and body corporate fees). Other people will genuinely need two car spaces. It is not up to the council to try to steer Carlton towards certain household types or residents who don’t need to travel out of the inner area.