Christmas holiday crowds at Mooloolaba. Car parking is almost impossible.
Christmas holiday crowds at Mooloolaba. Car parking is almost impossible. John McCutcheon

Call to reduce the number of carparking spaces on the Coast

SUNSHINE Coast residents need to get over their desire for ample car parking and catch the bus instead, a town planner has said.

Project Urban managing director Andrew Stevens said our love affair with cars and insistence on ever more car parking was ultimately creating the intense traffic congestion Sunshine Coast residents had come to despise.

"Car parking is among the most hotly-discussed issues for just about every development application, with everyone from Council to the community, bent on the desire to surround our commercial developments with an ocean of car parking," Mr Stevens said.

"In doing so they are giving the green light to increasing the number of vehicles that will use them and inevitably choke up our coastal lifestyle with snarling traffic jams."

Mr Steven said the Coast needed to instead reduce its dependence on car parking and look at viable alternatives, such as public transport. 

"I'm among the first to admit that the public transport options on the Sunshine Coast require improvement," Mr Stevens said.

"However, public transport will remain unviable, as long as we keep getting into our vehicles, and making our journeys by private car. As long as there are car parks at the destination, people will continue to drive their cars."

Mr Stevens suggested the Coast should follow Brisbane's parking policy, which allowed a maximum of one car park for every 200m² of floor area and spoke approvingly of the high cost of parking station fees in the CBD.

"Unless you're early enough to get the early bird rate, parking your car in the Brisbane CBD for a day (4hrs+) at standard rates will cost $75+," he said.

Beyond aiming to cut congestion, Mr Stevens said the Coast's current approach to car parking contradicted our efforts to be environmentally friendly.

"It's a fact that no building on the Sunshine Coast can achieve a six-star green energy rating because a key criterion for achieving it, is minimising the car parking and this can't be achieved if you comply with the current Parking Code," he said.

Where we did build more parking, it should be done with as small a physical footprint as possible.

"Hundreds of square metres of bitumen car parks, baking in the sub-tropical heat, hardly creates an attractive urban form or efficient use of available land resources," he said.

"We need to think outside the box and consider technology such as car stackers - think of a CD stacker, but for cars."

"We all need to rethink car parking; councils, developers, business owners, residents; improve public transport and redeploy the vast areas of bitumen and concrete currently used for car parking in and around our commercial areas and put it to better use as public gardens, street-front cafes or leafy gathering places that will truly enhance communities," he said.