Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Things they could fix in Canberra #2

Another aspect of Canberra that really lets it down is the problem of car parking.

I believe this comes down to two things:

  1. Canberra is overly planned - without much thought of the future.
  2. The residence of Canberra just accept things as they are.

This is not the first time this topic has been brought up for discussion on the web. It has already been raised on Canberra's own soapboax website. For a city of around 400,000 people, why does the "metered" parking locations charge as much as cities like Melbourne? They recently raised the price of all day parking in the satellite cities of Canberra from $5 to $6. While I don't have a problem in that, I'd like to know why it was raised. What was the reason it was raised? It was just accepted.

My main gripe with the problem of parking in Canberra is not the city parking, but with the on-street parking in the suburbs. Where is it? Why are there signs around the suburbs during weekdays that prohibit parking in the streets? That one should be obvious to most people - it is to stop people from parking in the streets, and then funnel them into the government paid parking lots, or the commercial parking lots. That is unfair!!

Secondly, on the same point of above, why are the streets so poorly designed? The streets are narrow, but looking at houses that come off them, the front common area on them (ie. the land between the border of their property and the street) is sometimes as wide as 30m. This is truly a waste of space, and shows a considerable short-sightedness when it comes to planning. While this may have kept Canberra attractive in 1920, it really did not have the future vision of cars included or a population of over 20,000.

As a side note, I've been doing some thinking about Canberra and what makes it the way it is. Speaking with the locals that live in Canberra, the term "planned city" comes up a lot. Doing some searching on the internet gave this interesting article: "New Towns for the 21st Century: The Planned vs. the Unplanned City". Simply stating it, the planning may have worked at one time, for a certain set of people - including the planner themselves, but if it has not evolved in the correct manner, the result is a souless city. Canberra could have been better. Melbourne is an example of a planned city that evolved.

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