Council responds to Parking Management Plan feedback

Horsham Rural City Council (HRCC) has endorsed a range of sweeping changes to improve the parking experience for people using our Central Activity District (CAD)

Council recently completed a review of the Parking Management Plan adopted in 2021. This review sought feedback on a range of issues relating to parking and the new parking meters. We thank the 1200 people who completed the survey that has prioritised the key issues that our community has with parking in the CAD and also the 895 community members who signed a petition submitted by Ms. Kath Dumesny wanting no paid parking whilst also requesting the continuation of the timed parking arrangements that are currently in place.

HRCC CEO Sunil Bhalla said the organisation was listening to the community’s voices and had rigorously considered every single response.

“The number one priority in local government is serving our community. Of the eight themed issues highlighted in the survey, seven related to the operation of the new parking meters, with the highest ranked issue being that paid parking is inconvenient for short term parking of less than 30 minutes. The other key issues were that paid parking was not needed in Horsham, the meters were too far apart, hard to locate, slow to operate, the two zones were confusing and instructions were not clear enough,” he said

Mr Bhalla said that in response to the feedback, recommendations were made to address each issue and these recommendations were adopted by Council at their meeting last Monday (September 25th).

Mr Bhalla said the key decision to retain the new Blinkay Parking Meter System was based on the following factors:

  • Paid parking is a well recognised mechanism for effective churn and ensuring availability of parking for shoppers and visitors to the CBD. It generated net income (after deducting costs of $160,000) of $361,000 in 2018-19 (pre-Covid). This income is placed in a reserve and funds the upkeep of the CAD.
  • The current investment made in the new parking meters system being $735,359.00 (plus applicable CPI increases on annual fees). 
  • There would be a cost involved with breaking the parking meter contract and no guarantee the meters could be sold to help offset this cost.
  • Having no paid parking in the CAD would incur a loss of revenue of $1.1million over 5 years (based on 2023-24 budget).
  • Parking meters are the most effective way of enforcing the 2hr and 4hr parking limits.

“Our challenge once Council decided to retain the parking meters has been to address the other key problems that people are having and make the parking meters easier to use”.

“To this end, a range of changes have been endorsed by Council that will provide the following benefits:

  • 30 Minutes Free Parking for those using a metered 2-hour park
  • Introduction of 30-minute free unmetered parking to four bays at the Post Office
  • An increase in 58 All Day parking bays and 30, 4-hour parking bays in close proximity for those wanting to park beyond 2 hours with no charge
  • No charge at the parking meter for people with an accessible parking permit (either blue or green), noting it will be time limited as sign-posted
  • The relocation and installation of additional meters so that people will walk no further than 30 metres to use a parking meter
  • Two new long vehicle parks in Ward Street for vehicles with caravans to access the Visitor Information Centre
  • Decrease in time taken to use the parking meters i.e. 40 seconds for card and 25 seconds for coins; previously approx. 10 seconds longer.

"I encourage community members to read the full Council report, including survey submissions and the parking petition presented to Council. This is available as part of the Agenda for the September Council meeting on Council’s website and describes in detail the changes to the parking management system.”

Mayor Cr Robyn Gulline said that the community’s voice matters and has been heard in shaping the new changes to the parking management system.

“In addition to making paid parking easier to use, the changes will provide 30 minutes of free parking, increase 4-hour and all day parking options within the city centre, as well as long vehicle parking spaces near the Town Hall’s Visitor Information Centre” Cr Gulline said.

“In consideration of those people with accessible parking permits, they will be able to park anywhere in the CAD free of charge, noting it will be time limited”.

She said that Council is also investigating other possible future improvements to the parking meters including a ‘tap and go’ pay card or a weekly, monthly, yearly permit “.

“We acknowledge the large amount of feedback we received which has ensured our community is involved in shaping the future of parking in Horsham.”