Building 85 new car parks to accommodate 1470 new workers in the proposed eight-storey Bayside Shopping Centre extension on Balmoral Street will create even higher parking prices in Frankston’s CBD and add to parking problems in the future.
The State Government’s justification that Vicinity Centres’ new Bayside development does not need to comply with Frankston parking scheme requirements is that there are “generally a minimum of 578 car parking vacancies in the shopping centre at any typical trading time” and the provision of parking is acceptable based on existing capacity as well as patterns of usage and vacancy.
Unfortunately, this misses the point and doesn’t fully allow for the new building’s expected parking demand.
Surely the State Government knows about basic economics? That if you overprice something, it will be underused?
This is why Bayside has “578” empty parking spaces.
The real issue is insufficient affordable parking in Frankston’s CBD. Bayside currently charges $15 for all-day parking – this is 10 per cent of a minimum wage earner’s daily income.
Bayside (Vicinity Centres) controls 57 per cent of all Frankston’s CBD public parking and can set all-day parking prices with impunity because there is no true market competition, but the ripple effects of these pricing decisions spread out and damage the whole CBD.
The State Government basing an important planning decision on the number of vacant spaces alone is unsafe and misleading, especially when the market pricing has been so obviously distorted.
For example, from July 2015 to July 2020, Bayside’s standard rate for parking rose from $1 to $1.50 for the first hour and $10 to $15 for daily parking, a 50 per cent price hike – and an implied yearly inflation rate of over 8 per cent.
A 3- to 4-hour shopping trip was worse, jumping from $4 to $7 – a 75 per cent price hike, with an inflation rate nudging 13 per cent.
The Government needs to consider that these price rises have made parking in central Frankston among the most expensive of Melbourne’s suburbs – all in an area that is well known for its low socio-economic status.
If Bayside was to contribute the required $14.7 million to Frankston Council’s cash-in-lieu scheme to compensate for the missing 735 car spaces (as calculated by a thorough council study), council would own a greater share of the publicly available CBD car parking. Council currently charges a more affordable $6.50 for all-day spaces and offers the first two hours free of charge to shoppers and visitors. It is telling that council-owned parking areas are almost always full.
The Government, through its planning minister Richard Wynne, who fast-tracked approval of the Bayside eight-storey tower development without adequate parking, is perpetuating a Ponzi-type scheme that double-counts existing parking spaces. Frankston has seen the impact that insufficient car parking had when South East Water’s headquarters was built in 2015, so it’s difficult to understand why this same mistake would be repeated.
Instead, the State Government should be addressing the root of Frankston’s public transport woes by extending the metropolitan electrified rail line beyond Frankston to enable people to access good, reliable, speedy public transport as well as enabling construction of commuter park and rides away from our CBD.
The Frankston rail extension is a listed national priority project, with a $225 million federal contribution already in the budget, but has no state support.
Adequate access to affordable car parking is a crucial element in a healthy outer suburban economy like Frankston’s. Unaffordable parking is a major barrier to work and education.
Mr Wynne, if you’re going to let developers short-change Frankston on car parking, your government must provide our community with the Frankston rail extension to provide a viable public transport alternative to cars.
Ginevra Hosking, CEO Committee for Greater Frankston