Thursday, May 30, 2024

Parking improvement pilot gets green light for Warburton

Yarra Ranges Council has given the green light to a pilot parking improvement program in Warburton for later this year.

The Council says the pilot program would see traffic flow better managed through parking information displays as well as requiring non-Yarra Ranges residents to pay for parking in certain areas of the township, with any revenue raised to be reinvested back into the local community.

Residents of Yarra Ranges would be eligible for parking permits that would allow them to park in those areas for free.

Yarra Ranges Mayor, Sophie Todorov, said Council has already increased enforcement to encourage safer parking behaviour and improve traffic flow, with the pilot program being the next step in that piece of work, consistent with its Integrated Transport Strategy.

“We’ve received many complaints from our community who say that parking in Warburton has become a nightmare during peak times,” Mayor Todorov said.

“While tourism is critical to our local economy, we also know the pressure that this can put on our local residents going about their daily lives.

“And with the Destination Management Plan forecasting a doubling of visitors to the Yarra Ranges over the next decade (4.5 million per year to 9 million), something has to be done. We know that townships such as Warburton are going to be one of the main hot spots for visitation.

“We want to reassure our residents that they won’t need to pay for parking. We’ll provide plenty of time to understand the changes and obtain permits later this year.”

Currently, parking at all tourist destinations within Yarra Ranges is free of charge.

“By asking our visitors to pay for their parking, they will be contributing to the management of the Council assets that they use,” Mayor Todorov said.

“We’ve seen paid parking work across other municipalities that attract tourists, and how the cost of maintaining and improving assets is shared by all who use them.”

The project will focus on installation of wayfinding signage and parking sensors, which are commonly found in parking areas outside the municipality. The exact equipment used will be determined by the public tender that will commence shortly.

The signs will show live information of how many free parking spots are available, to minimise ‘cruising’ for parking.

No personal data will be collected or stored by Council.

Upon conclusion of the pilot, a review will be undertaken before decisions are made on implementing paid parking for visitors to other heavily visited areas of the Yarra Ranges, Council said in a statement.

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