Syndal Station Carpark – Will Council Help Monash’s Commuters?

Public Transport Victoria is building a new commuter car park at Syndal Station. This four-storey building will add 250 car parks and 26 secure bike parks to the station removing some pressure on surrounding street parking and offering an alternative starting point for commuters who cannot currently find a park at Glen Waverley. More information and a design feedback form is available at http://ptv.vic.gov.au/projects/rail-projects/syndal-station-multi-deck-car-park/syndal-station-multi-deck-car-park-have-your-say-on-the-car-park-design/.

Exterior Design Options for the new Syndal Station Carpark
Exterior Design Options for the new Syndal Station Carpark

Extra car-parking at the station might be a good thing but the catch is that, during the construction period from late 2014 until some time in 2015, about 150 current parking places will not be available. So what will happen to residents in areas of Monash near the end of the Glen Waverley line? They’ll probably suffer more congestion in their local streets as commuters struggle to find somewhere to park.

What can be done about it? Where can we find an extra 150 car parks at short notice, for a short period and near to the stations? PTV apparently has approached the City of Monash early in the project and again in the second half of October seeking temporary access to the upper levels of the Euneva Avenue car park – the space where council’s traffic surveys show that the peak utilisation level is 100 out of 352 spaces. That is, at peak utilisation, there are 252 car parks idle in Euneva Avenue.

Parking at Syndal station 2012

On the surface it would seem to be a very simple matter for PTV to temporarily lease 150 of the 250 spaces from the City of Monash for 12 months while construction proceeds at Syndal. But Monash Council apparently has refused the request.

At the July 2014 Council meeting the Mayor presented a report (http://www.monash.vic.gov.au/reports/pdftext/cp29jul14/7.2.pdf) which addresses this issue from one viewpoint. It’s interesting to note that many of the car parking spaces in the Euneva Ave car park have been funded by traders who have paid a contribution to council to build the multi-storey car park instead of providing their own, on-site, visitor parking as part of the requirements of their business’s planning permits. This seems to be a sensible approach when compared to the alternative of, presumably, asking the impossible by expecting a Kingsway or Coleman Pde business to provide that on-site. However, it does seem a little odd to say that nobody else can use this space built on public land by the city we live in. If the parking is provided for visitors to businesses and, as clearly evidenced by the current surveys, these same customers consider the parking not in a useful location, it makes sense to release the space, even temporarily, for other uses.

The possibility of charging for commuter parking in Euneva Ave has been raised. In a public budget submission I suggested that the existing resident parking permit system could be used to issue permits by considering each parking space to be a “flat” or “unit” at number 1 Euneva Ave. Thus a permit for 401/1 Euneva Ave would represent a permit to park in the first bay on level 4. I suggested that commuters would probably be willing to pay $5 per day or $100 per month for such a permit. Council’s report (http://www.monash.vic.gov.au/reports/pdftext/cp29jul14/7.2-attach.pdf) suggests that $4 a day would be achievable. Unfortunately, the council report only looked at the option of installing multiple ticket machines at $11,000 each and only looked at two decks to make 118 bays available. They felt it would not be a viable option to try to recoup $60,000 for ticket machines from this revenue but ignored the cheaper option proposed only a few weeks earlier.

I suggest that it’s time for another rethink at Council to ensure residents and commuters in our City are not needlessly inconvenienced during this new construction. The fact that Council has the potential to raise something in the order of $100,000 for a year here with very little outlay (certainly a lot less than the $60,000 cost of ticket machines) and refuses to consider it leaves me wondering what is really motivating the decision.

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