Drivers divided over sweeping parking changes in Aussie city

The City of Melbourne is overhauling its parking rules with some simple, but seemingly controversial changes.

Aussies love to complain about the complexity of parking rules with city drivers often having to navigate an overwhelming maze of rules and signage. But one council's attempt to simplify things has been met with some surprising backlash.

The City of Melbourne is introducing a much more straightforward approach to parking, in some cases potentially turning seven signs into just one.

Instead of a myriad of rules coming into effect at different times and different days for on-street parking, two-hour paid parking limits will apply more broadly, every day from 7am to 10pm.

Melbourne parking signs pictured
How the City of Melbourne is advertising the change on social media. Source: City of Melbourne/Instagram

The council says its "simpler and fairer" approach will also unlock "hundreds more spaces" by converting loading zones to paid parking after 4pm, as well as allocating more free parking spaces for up to 15 minutes to support quick trips.

But it's the elimination of free parking on Sunday and the evening extension of paid parking that has some locals less than impressed.

"Just another way to make some cash. Ridiculous," one person commented under the announcement on social media. Plenty of people also took umbrage with the extension of paid parking to 10pm, saying it wasn't enough time to go out for dinner. "This is all sorts of wrong. It should remain as free in the evening," one person complained. "And this is why our CBD is dying!!" another angry local commented.

Parking changes to begin in Melbourne from July

The changes were born out of the Parking and Kerbside Management Plan and will be rolled out in the central city from July, accompanied by an educational campaign for drivers.

"Our on-street parking can be complex with some parking signs, limits and charges confusing and inconsistent, resulting in frustrating experiences for drivers in the city. This plan will change that," said Councillor Davydd Griffiths, the deputy lead of the Transport, Infrastructure and Operations portfolio.

The council says the removal of free parking on Sundays is designed to increase traffic turnover to benefit city businesses. It is also implementing more consistent loading zone time limits.

Traffic gridlock along Sydney Rd in Brunswick. Source: Getty
Traffic gridlock along Sydney Road in Brunswick, Melbourne. Source: Getty

"Good parking management helps keep our city moving – and we want to make parking simpler for people who drive in to Melbourne," Lord Mayor Sally Capp said in a statement.

"Businesses need confidence that their customers can find a park, and deliveries will arrive on time. That’s why we’re making up to 15 minutes of parking free, creating consistent two-hour limits and installing clearer signs."

The Lord Mayor said council workers will continue to work with the community to "bring the plan to life in all Melbourne neighbourhoods".

The changes will impact on-street parking, which the city says only accounts for about four per cent of parking spaces. The other 96 per cent is managed by off-street commercial car parks.

The plan was informed by the experience of around 1,000 road users and does not propose any increase to the current maximum $7 hourly parking rate, the council says.

Key changes to parking rules:

  • Simpler signage

  • More consistent 2-hour paid parking every day, 7am to 10pm

  • Paid parking on Sunday

  • 'Data-led pricing' for cheaper rates at off-peak times

  • Free parking for up to 15 minutes

  • Consistent time limits for loading zones

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