WITH Parramatta's Central Business District undergoing a major transformation, City of Parramatta Council has proposed a number of strategies to tackle future traffic congestion and enhance the City's liveability and amenity.
The recommendations are made in the Parramatta CBD Strategic Transport Study, which was commissioned by the Council as a key supporting document for the Parramatta CBD Planning Proposal.
The Study warns the consolidation of Parramatta as Sydney's dual CBD and Central City will present major transport and parking challenges, driven by a tripling of the residential population and significant jobs growth by 2056.
It predicts the number of CBD commuter trips will quadruple during the AM peak period over the next 40 years so action is needed to improve public transport options and discourage private vehicle use.
A best-practice approach to balancing parking supply and demand is now being developed by Council to help address the issue and support the City's goals of fostering economic growth while building a sustainable, vibrant urban centre.
The Study acknowledges an expected shift away from cars as the preferred means of travel over the next four decades and proposes limiting private car parking spaces in future Parramatta CBD developments to rates consistent with those used in the Sydney CBD.
The recommendation will be subject to further detailed modelling and analysis to set appropriate local parking limits using the Sydney CBD as a benchmark.
City of Parramatta Interim General Manager Greg Dyer said the study identifies that growth anticipated in the Parramatta CBD could result in saturation of the existing road network, resulting in traffic gridlock.
"Improvements to public transport and regional roads must be considered by the State Government and Council supports any initiative to improve and upgrade public transport services in the Parramatta CBD. However, Council can also directly intervene by managing and limiting the supply of private car parking," Mr Dyer said.
"Council wants to ensure the Parramatta CBD remains sustainable, attractive, liveable, and accessible in the long term with the significant growth anticipated under the Parramatta CBD Planning Proposal.
"All of these outcomes are at risk if parking ratios – in particular commuter parking - are not reduced as Parramatta CBD evolves from a suburban CBD to a key part of Sydney's Central City."
The Study will go on public exhibition together with the Parramatta CBD Planning Proposal later this year, at which point the community and other interested stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed parking rate changes.
The Parramatta CBD is currently home to 21,000 people which is expected to increase to 68,000 people by 2056. The City's jobs are also predicted to nearly double with an additional 49,000 jobs forecast for the CBD alone. Visitor numbers are also set to increase as key attractions such as the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), Western Sydney Stadium and Parramatta Square are developed.
When benchmarked against eight international CBDs, the Parramatta LGA recorded the highest percentage of car use at 68 per cent, compared with 32 per cent in the City of Sydney LGA.
Private vehicles account for 56 per cent of trips to the Parramatta CBD while public transport makes up 37 per cent, and walking and cycling just five per cent.
In addition to addressing the issue of private parking in the Strategic Transport Study, the Council is currently seeking community feedback on a Parramatta CBD Public Car Parking Strategy which also aims to ensure economic activity in the CBD is supported while avoiding traffic congestion.
Under the strategy, short stay parking for visitors and shoppers will be encouraged in the centre of the CBD, while longer stay parking for commuters will be shifted to the edge and outside the CBD.
More information about the Parramatta CBD Planning Proposal, including the Parramatta CBD Strategic Transport Study, is available from the City of Parramatta website at <https://www.cityofparramatta.nsw.gov.au/about-parramatta/precinct-planning/parramatta-cbd>.