Parking in Sydney: Impossible or a nightmare? - Report

Posted on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - 15:43

If you think it’s impossible to find a parking space in Sydney and hate the fact you’ll pay huge prices if you ever find one – you aren’t alone.

An NRMA report has revealed that parking in Sydney is almost twice as expensive than busy San Francisco, California and has a third less parking spaces per 1000 CBD employees.

The report, titled “Parking in the Sydney CBD: An international comparison” [link: http://www.mynrma.com.au/media/Parking_in_the_Sydney_CBD_An_International_Comparison.pdf] took data from US cities with similar population and demographic characteristics to Sydney, which included San Francisco, Boston, San Diego and Seattle.

Car parking in Sydney is unbelievably expensive

The most startling statistic from the report showed that Sydney’s median undiscounted daily parking rate was as high as $67.42 (USD) with a monthly median unreserved parking rate of $695. This was almost twice more expensive than San Francisco, with rates of $34 and $438 respectively.

The average of all four US cities’ parking rates came in at $27.50, the monthly rate $319.25.

Another source of pain for Sydney motorists is the chronic lack of parking in general, especially on the street. Sydney only has 2,506 on-street spaces and 50,009 off-street spaces.

In terms of car parking spaces per 1000 employees, Sydney had the lowest ratio of all the surveyed cities with 209. San Diego came out on top with 966. The lowest ratio in the American cities was Boston with 292.

Other takeaways from the report found that on-street parking in narrow Sydney streets may offer motorists the greatest convenience, but it also increases congestion at intersections.

The City of Sydney has also matched on-street ticket prices to off-street parking. It also suggests there may be a 10-30% surplus of off-street car parking in Sydney, which the public should use instead of an on-street parking spot.

Also detailed in the report is the uptake of public transport usage among the various cities, with 61% of CBD-based employees in Sydney using public transport and only 28% using their car.

87% of San Diegans use their car, followed by Seattle (66%) and Boston (50%).

Less parking with new light rail project

Further parking cuts will come with approval of a CBD Light Rail proposal. The project will connect about 12 kilometres of the CBD with stops in Circular Quay to Central, Kingsford and Randwick via Surry Hills and Moore Park.

Kerbside restrictions such as “pedestrianisation” of George St, loading zones and Bus Priority routes cut the number of on-street parking spaces during the day. This may cut available bays by as much as 96.9% during peak periods.

If you’re still braving the Sydney roads in a few years’ time, it might be worth switching to alternatives such as Park and Ride. Sydney has 8.7 spaces per 1000 people, which is only the second lowest in the survey.

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