OSCAR was invited to attend the Verge Parking Workshop held at the Lake Kawana Community Centre on Monday, 12 February 2018.
There were a number of presentations and speakers – and lots of information to take in. The organisations represented – the council itself, community organisations, representatives from the utility companies and the business/developer sector – were all given the opportunity to express their views and ask/answer questions.
Community groups/organisations made a huge contribution to the day and their views were listened to in a respectful manner.
Two police officers attended the workshop but did not give a presentation or participate in discussions which was interesting given the role the police play in traffic and parking regulation, along with the Council.
The workshop was well run and certainly involved a two-way exchange of ideas. The Council certainly did not dominate the proceedings.
Mayor Jamieson was present for the whole day along with the SCRC CEO and a number of Council staff. All 10 councillors were present during the day, the majority for the whole day.
I was accompanied, as part of the OSCAR team, by Gillian Hall (Dulong Futures) and Bob Joubert (Peregian Springs Residents Association) and their thoughts of the day are included below. I am very grateful for the contribution of both Gillian and Bob to the success of the day.
It should be pointed out that this is not a definitive account of all items on the Agenda.
Verge parking is not an isolated issue and the workshop provided the opportunity to put much more on the table. To prepare and plan for the potential of 200,000 more people living on the Sunshine Coast in future, maybe it’s a good time to address the causes rather than the symptom?
OSCAR’s chief recommendation, coming out of the workshop (which was intended to be for the sharing of information; I do not believe anyone present thought this issue would be solved in one day!), is that the Council set up a Consultation Group involving all stakeholders to arrive at a position that can be the basis for Council policy in the future. The Maroochy River Estuary Consultation Group in 2017 shows how effective such a process can be.
Greg Smith, President OSCAR
(NB Other useful links are available at the end of this post)
Bob Joubert’s comments:
The problem is bad and getting worse. SCRC now has more dwellings per hectare than before; more residents (especially drivers) per dwelling than expected; more vehicles per kilometre of residential streets; no extra on-site parking to cater for extra vehicles (and if residents don’t use garages for their vehicles, the problems get even worse).
Road widths are a major factor. Existing subdivisions are stuck with the built streets, which include “neighbourhood collectors” (7.5m wide); “access streets” (6m wide) and “access places” (5.5m wide – mainly dead ends). Most issues and complaints seem to arise in 6m wide access streets, especially where narrow lot fronts (eg 10m) and “secondary dwellings” lead to higher densities of residents and vehicles than planners in Council and State Government might have expected.
The major points that I noted, mainly from Jamie Simmonds’ summary (Jamie was the independent facilitator engaged by the Council) and subsequent comments from participants were:
There is a genuine problem with verge parking in the SCRC area. Solutions won’t satisfy everyone under all conditions. Any proposals to change current regulations, or penalty enforcement practices or urban design standards will need to address numerous issues, including:
- Safety (of pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles, utility assets etc)
- Amenity (of residents, visitors etc)
- Liabilities (eg for damage to utility assets – manholes etc – and possible damage to residents’ “extended gardens” and lawns)
- Access needs by various utilities (eg Telstra, Unitywater, Australia Post, Energex) to their assets under or near the verges
- Temporary access by more tradesmen and visitors including the rising numbers of aged care workers, given the drive to increase “ageing in place”.
Some short-term and long-term actions that could help with solutions include:
- Education generally, via Council’s website; and specifically via Council’s officers attending locations after complaints and distributing leaflets; by estate agents in “welcome packs” to new residents and by Council in their “welcome packs” for new ratepayers
- Moderation by Council in levying $94 fines for parking on verges, despite increasing numbers of complaints in this regard (eg ~500-600 total parking complaints, of which verge complaints ~240 or 40%. Fines for verge parking have decreased in Q4 2017, having previously been rising in line with rising complaint volumes). Note that there is confusion regarding fines: Some, such as Cr Ted Hungerford, believe that Council is required by state law to levy the fines; while others believe levying of fines is at Council’s discretion. Nevertheless, complainants do expect violations to be addressed, so a general amnesty or moratorium on fines won’t please everyone. Note further that these comments apply to non-regulated streets – ie those without the kinds of parking restrictions seen in Bulcock Street or near the new hospital.
- Regulations and specifications by State Government and Council, which prohibit verge parking that seem to be based on “Complete Streets”, a publication by the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia. However, TMR’s publication “Technical Note 138 Verge Parking and Indented Parking” shows examples of using verges for properly built parking bays, although the road widths seem to be at least the 7.5m variety, not the narrow 6m streets – and the specifications don’t cover the “two wheels on, two off” idea for relaxation of regulations. Nevertheless, engineering and traffic regulations could be modified in the long run to help to mitigate the problems.
- Clarity in the “final say” about street widths in new subdivisions. If developers are not willing to agree with Council’s request to have more 7.5m wide streets (and to be fair, some developers are prepared to do this, eg AVID at Harmony), but insist on the maximum number of 6m streets, then an appeal to the environment court is likely to overturn the more generous requirement. The cost to the developers is said to be between $4,000 and $8,000 per developed lot to have a larger number of wider streets. That cost is said to be passed on in the sale price, which works against the goal of more affordable housing.
- Improvements in public transport to service the newer, denser subdivisions, as well as for the trunk routes to the major centres.
I guess my major takeaway was the commitment by Mayor Jamieson and the other councillors to maintain an ongoing dialogue with the community on this subject – having started with this very good workshop. They deserve credit for that and it’s a pity that recent comments in the Sunshine Coast Daily were angled more towards controversy and confrontation.
Gillian Hall’s comments:
Purpose: The workshop will provide an opportunity to generate a comprehensive perspective on the current legislative framework for unlawful parking; the impacts and implications for a range of service and utility providers; key data and statistics on parking management including a comparison with other similar Councils; public access and safety issues; and the expectations and views of the community business and industry.
Opening – Mayor Mark Jamieson
- Quoted Sunshine Coast Daily poll; “high number support penalties for parking on the verge.”
- Council wants to stay in touch with communities.
- Examples given;
- Twin Waters 2015 – airport expansion
- Buderim – verge gardens; outcome to be announced soon
- “continuing this focus”, parking on the road verge
- The road verge is an important access point for a range of stakeholders.
- “Set the record straight” …
- State Government law – you must not stop a vehicle …
- “Blame” – the Mayor has never criticised the Queensland State Government.
- Open to interpretations of the law
- About solving the problem and finding solutions
- “Taking responsibility … authority and honesty”
Definition and Basic Info
- What the ‘verge’ is? – An element within the road reserve
- ‘P’ parking on the ‘verge’ signs
- Not used when fronting houses
- Examples: Golden Beach and La Balsa Park
- Consultation with residents before the signs can be used
Education and Compliance Program
- Educational approach – “self-compliance”
- Steps: investigation → education → informal action → formal action → other action
- Two Teams:
– Regulated Parking Team
– Response Services Team
- PPT – graphs and data
- 15 December 2017 (unsure date range):
- 375 parking complaints (total)
- 162 verge parking complaints
- 81 verge parking infringement notices issued (2% total parking infringement notices issued)
- Variation in the data – decrease (raised by the Mayor)
- By the end of the Workshop, a widely held view, the SCRC had relaxed its overzealous approach to issuing infringement notices during the period of growing community action that began in late 2017.
- Council fines are considerably higher than a fine from the Qld Police Service for a similar offence. Why?
- Council fines are calculated using a measure set in Queensland Law – ‘unit measure’
- SCRC verge parking infringements use .75 unit, this is a mid-range amount compared to similar Councils.
- Street widths 7.5 metres – AVID thinks it’s more appropriate than 6 metres
- Cost is $40 million over the life of the project
- Equates to about $8,000 per lot
- 10 – 15 years ago, 10-12 lots per hectare
- Today – about 18 lots per hectare
- Recommend – that Council revisits 10-12 metre lot frontage
- Need options for double garaging
- Need to get the balance right – Safety, Aesthetics and Speed
- There is a formula for car parking – 1.5 to 2% of land taken (less land for other uses)
- Bigger roads are an additional cost – impact on housing affordability, already an issue on the Sunshine Coast
Trends and Guidelines
- Shift to more two storey homes
- Currently – 5%
- 30-40% is not far away
- Currently, average number of vehicle movements per household, per day – 8
- Setbacks – discussion about current SCRC requirement 4.5 metres which allows for parking in the driveway
- Average setback in 4 metres
- Publications mentioned – Queensland Streets and Complete Streets (National Guideline)
- Queensland Streets is an IPWEA publication that provides the basis for a uniform standard of residential street works design, incorporating “state-of-the-art” principles and techniques. It evolved in parallel with AMCORD (document published by the Local Government and Planning Ministers’ Council) with no significant differences in philosophy regarding basic principles. The Performance Criteria are consistent between the two, with Queensland Streets taking the Performance Criteria into more detail due to its more specialized nature.
- It was revised and renamed “Complete Streets” in 2010.
- IPEA – Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia – Complete Street
- Housing affordability mentioned frequently
- Increased density
- Population growth – 200,000 moving to the Sunshine Coast
- Development – 63% approved infill development
UDIA – Urban Development Institute of Australia
- Peak body property development
- Development needs to provide appropriate parking
- Pressure on – on street parking
- Thoughts … response to verge parking
- Need a widespread understanding of the issue
- If considering a policy response, it can have unintended consequences
- Negative impacts – housing affordability (cost of additional pavement)
- Low speed traffic – traffic calming in slow speed environments
- Widening infrastructure – better transport system
- Consider sustainable outcomes
- Construction vehicles is a short-term issue – requires a pragmatic approach and tolerance
- The Planning Scheme controls the development approval process (design)
Planning Scheme Standards
- Queensland Development Code requires two onsite parking spaces for detached dwellings
- One parking space per two lots for lots under 300m2
- Road widths:
– Access Place – 5.5 m
– Access Street – 6.0 m
– Neighbourhood Collector 7.5 m
- Discussion about remedial actions for existing narrow roads
- It’s a complicated issue with different viewpoints
- Damage – who pays?
- Education – who needs the information?
- Clarity about what is verge parking
- Planning and Development – divergent. No simple answer
- Impact on services – what is the purpose of the verge? Who/when do they need access?
- Construction – impact
- Tradies – encourage a collaborative approach
- Sustainability – public transport infrastructure, (current development and planning is unsustainable, dependence of cars and stuff that fills up garages etc)
- Consider needs – Ageing in Place when planning communities
- Cost of living and housing affordability pressures
- Rethink lot widths and provision of double garages
- Current situation reflects social issues – increase in people renting rooms, more cars per dwelling …
- Role of SCRC – binary
- “To serve the community “or “it’s everybody’s issue – personal responsibility”
Closing – Mayor Mark Jamieson
- Where to from here?
- “Next step … “
- “There’s a long way to go …”
- “The road verge is for access” (Focus on Utilities?)
- Community gains – Harmony (new residential development with 7.5 metre road widths)
- “We’ve heard from communities through residents’ associations”
- Council seeks to understand … lots of information
- Council will sift through the information and come back with options
- Community Consultation process has merit
- Manage competing expectations and reach a workable outcome
- Integrated public transport infrastructure – stronger advocacy role
- Councillors are “pushing hard” (public transport)
- Incorrect matter reported to the media: $184 permit. Revenue does not cover the cost of the service …
– ‘The temporary work permit allows council to authorise temporary activities within the road corridor. If the request relates to seeking approval for permanent infrastructure within the road corridor, an application through Community Land Permits is required.’ (SCRC last updated 20 December 2017)