Thomas Street Pedestrian Operated Signal Project is a collaboration between Glen Eira City Council and Bayside City Council to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety.
On 26 October 2022, Council received communication from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts, advising that the Federal Government had made a decision as part of the October 2022-23 Budget to withdraw the funding commitment for the commuter car park projects in Bentleigh and Elsternwick. Officers presented a report to Council on 22 November 2022 recommending that Council resolve to formally close the Multi-deck commuter car park projects in Bentleigh and Elsternwick and advise the community that the Urban Congestion Fund has been abolished.
Council had previously sought to deliver the projects in Bentleigh and Elsternwick via a cost neutral approach, however the abolishment of the Urban Congestion Fund and the confirmation from the Federal Government that the funding will not be available made this direction unachievable.
With no funding and low support from the community following the project feasibility phase, it was recommended that Council formally close off the projects.
The resolution was supported at the Council meeting on 22 November 2022. Therefore, no further work will be undertaken on the Multi-deck commuter car parks projects in Bentleigh and Elsternwick.
In 2019, Council received part Federal funding to develop two Multi-deck commuter car parks located in Elsternwick and Bentleigh as part of the Urban Congestion Fund. This triggered initial community engagement about the commuter car parks with the local community. This engagement was limited to information provision. It is understood the information and approach resulted in some negative feedback.
Following this engagement, Council negotiated and secured 100 per cent Federal funding ($20.6m) and the location of both car parks changed to allow for smaller-scale development and align more closely with the Urban Congestion Fund’s objectives.
In 2021, the Urban Congestion Fund was the subject of an Auditor-General’s report which highlighted a number of concerns about the granting process. Council commissioned an independent probity report to review any probity risks associated with utilising the grant money for the delivery of the two car park projects. The probity report concluded that with proper risk mitigations in place, Council should proceed with conducting community engagement to inform the decision-making about progressing (or not progressing) the car park projects.
As a result, Council decided to re-engage the community to gauge views around accepting the funding, advise of the new proposed site locations, and understand priorities for other possible initiatives should further funding become available, or advocacy opportunities arise.
Following this engagement with the community which took place throughout October and November 2021, Council resolved to undertake feasibility and further site assessment for the proposed Multi-deck commuter car park development in Bentleigh and Elsternwick. The decision made by Council to progress with the project was based on the feedback data from the community engagement and consultation process which showed an overall support for the project progressing.
In January 2022, Council engaged a multidisciplinary consultant team to undertake feasibility and site due diligence. The objectives of the feasibility and site due diligence included gaining a better understanding of things like demand, effects, and traffic impacts.
Council initiated a further round of engagement from 30 May to 3 July to share the outcomes of the project feasibility phase and seek community feedback to inform the decision about the next steps for the commuter Multi-deck car parks in Elsternwick and Bentleigh. Feedback showed that while the community acknowledged the need for more car parking, residents were not in favour of the commuter car parks. The outcomes of this consultation process were presented to Council on 30 August 2022.
Councillors noted the feedback received during community consultation and resolved to support a hold point for the project until further guidance was received from the Federal Government regarding the Urban Congestion Fund.
Advice from the Federal Government
On 26 October 2022, Council received communication from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts, advising that the Federal Government had made a decision as part of the October 2022-23 Budget to withdraw the funding commitment for the commuter carpark projects in Bentleigh and Elsternwick.
Other advocacy opportunities
Following the Urban Congestion Fund’s cancellation, Council will continue to strongly advocate to the Federal Government for more funding for integrated transport and connectivity in Glen Eira as well as essential community infrastructure, such as activity centre carparking, safer cycling and active transport infrastructure, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, or investments in supporting the public realm and perceptions of community safety.
There are major opportunities across the municipality for the Federal Government to work with Council to provide greater accessibility and improved infrastructure for residents through programs like the Infrastructure Investment Program.
Demand and community effects, including traffic impacts
As part of feasibility, Council appointed Urbis to undertake analysis around demand and community effects like traffic impacts.
As part of feasibility, Officers appointed CO-OP Studio architects to develop functional layouts and concept designs for each site.
Further information can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Concept Designs — Frequently Asked Questions
What would happen to the trees/vegetation at the current sites if the car parks were to be constructed?
Although several trees have been identified as significant specimens at the Elsternwick site, they are not unusual or unique to the municipality. Any trees that can be retained and/or repurposed to a different location on site or within the municipality will be.
None of the trees have been identified as significant specimens and would not be classified as high retention at the Bentleigh site. However, any trees that can be retained and/ or repurposed to a different location on site or within the municipality will be.
The yield seems relatively low for both sites – why is this?
Small-scale development was anticipated for each site, which is what the budget has allowed for.
How many levels would the car parks be, if they were to go ahead?
Each site is projected to have three levels.
What additional benefits could the community expect to see?
The roof level provides a great opportunity for activation at the Elsternwick site, which is facilitated by the external stair and a direct connection from street. The southern half of the floor-plate is conceived as space for an Urban Farm, which could be used and managed by a local community group. The structure is designed to accommodate the associated loads if the space was converted for this use. The space could also be used as a rooftop bar, restaurant, cinema or playground.
The Bentleigh side provides great opportunity for community ownership, creative expression and local engagement in creative arts with a curated L1 soffit and rooftop space for things like film and exhibitions. The space could also be used for a cinema, bar or other events. The urban forest on the site will create a unique pocket park, providing more tree canopy within the municipality and offering another space for the community to use.
Would the car parks be future-proofed?
The design for the car parking structure at Elsternwick has considered futureproofing in the form of adaptive re-use at ground level. This is achieved with the provision of a wide setback from the western boundary which provides separation to over-looking balconies to the parking structure. Along with provisions for services connections, this allows for approximately 660m² of parking area connecting Stanley St to the rear of the Glen Huntly Rd shops to be activated with commercial tenancies. This could become retail, hospitality, recreational or creative studio spaces that enhances the connection through to the existing adjacent commercial precinct. Re-purposing this western portion of the site will avoid costly and potentially redundant structural upgrades needed to support change in use at upper levels, whilst planning of the vehicular movements on the eastern side of the site means that the upper level car parking in unaffected.
The design for the car parking structure at Bentleigh has considered futureproofing in the form of adaptive re-use at street level. This is achieved by increasing the gradient of the L00-L01 ramp to provide 3.6-4.0m head clearance to the underside of the Level 1 structure. Along with provisions for services connections, this allows for approximate 840m² of parking area facing Bent Street and the southern laneway to be activated with commercial tenancies. These could become retail, hospitality, recreational or creative studio spaces that extend from the existing adjacent commercial precinct. Increasing the floor-to-floor height at the lowest level avoids costly and potentially redundant structural upgrades needed to support change in use at upper levels, whilst activating the street frontages allows for the car parking to remain operational above.
What sort of safety measures would be in place?
The parking structures will address safety issues around the sites using Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles, including eliminating hiding spots and dead-ends, adequate lighting, clear view lines for passive surveillance and encouraging increased community use throughout the day with suitable co-located activation.
How would privacy be maintained for the surrounding residences?
At the Elsternwick site, the parking will have a generous setback from the apartments on the western boundary and it is proposed that the eastern facade will be solid to eliminate over-looking to the eastern neighbour.
At the Bentleigh site, the neighbouring residences will be separated from the parking structure by a large landscaped park.
How would light and sound spill from the carparks be managed?
It is envisaged that sound generated by the proposed carparks will only be very marginally more than the current use of the sites. Light spill will be managed by screened facades that also allow for natural ventilation, clear view lines and fall protection. The landscape intervention at both sites will also help to manage light spill and acoustics.
What are the proposed materials that the car parks would be constructed of? Would they be recycled/ sustainable?
No materials have been selected for the feasibility phase of the project, however, ESD principles have been considered to outline the sustainability opportunities for each site. A key consideration of the facade performance is natural ventilation, which minimises/eliminates the need for energy intensive mechanical systems.
How would traffic flow within the car park?
Each parking structure is proposed to be 2 levels above ground. The Elsternwick traffic flow is via ramp at the rear of the site, with open circulation within each level. The Bentleigh structure incorporates ramping within the layout.
Would there be toilets? Where would they be located?
There is the opportunity to provide toilets at each site, which would likely be located on the ground level.
Would there be end of trip facilities/bike parking?
There is the opportunity to provide end of trip and/or bike parking facilities at each site.
Urbis Report — Frequently Asked Questions
Why did Council commission the Urbis report?
Officers engaged Urbis to undertake feasibility and gain a better understanding of the following:
- Purpose the carparks would serve;
- Demand for the carparks and if commuters would use the carparks once constructed;
- The effects on the community, including the traffic impacts; and
- Possible design considerations and case studies.
Urbis considered the objectives of the Federal Urban Congestion Fund as well as the previous work undertaken by VLC Consulting regarding the ‘Efficacy of Commuter Carparks’ presented to Council back in October 2021 which identified that approximately one-third of the new car parks would result in trips being diverted from driving closer to Melbourne.
What were the key findings of the report?
- There is sufficient supply of Park and Ride parking in Elsternwick to support demand in 2031.
- By 2031, with the redeveloped Park and Ride car park it is expected that there is total demand for 64 Park and Ride car parking spaces.
- Alternative uses for the site should be explored to realise opportunities for community benefit of the site.
- Over-catering for parking on the site will result in car parking spaces being used by commuters working in the Elsternwick activity centre.
- About half of car park users also visit the activity centre.
- The high rate of cross usage between users of the Park and Ride car park and the activity centre presents the following challenges:
−Local all-day workers parking in Park and Ride car parking spaces.
−Ensuring good access between the activity centre, the train station and car parking.
- The existing road network has capacity for the additional car parking.
- Additional demand for Park and Ride parking by 2031 presents an opportunity to transition to sustainable first/last mile solutions for commuters.
- By 2031 it is anticipated that there will be a total Park and Ride demand of 279 spaces and a combined demand from Park and Ride/local worker parking equating to 294 spaces. The existing supply of 206 represents a shortfall of spaces.
- There is a significant opportunity to transition this community to using more sustainable transport modes to access the station over time.
- A transition to more sustainable first-and-last mile trips could result in alternative ancillary uses for the site which would realise broader community benefit of the site.
- 19 per cent of car park users also visit the activity centre
- There is opportunity to build upon the comparably low cross-usage between commuter car park users and the activity centre by ensure good pedestrian access between the activity centre, the train station and parking.
- The existing road network has capacity for the additional car parking.
What is the demand for car parking?
Park and Ride demand in Elsternwick will not be significant in 2031.
- Demand for Park and Ride car parking within the Elsternwick catchment is significantly below supply with 236 all-day parking spaces provided and Park and Ride demand of 53.
- However, based on Journey to Work data for employment within 200 metres of the station and areal imaging observations, these car parks currently appear full. This could indicate a large number of local workers using the Park and Ride car parking for jobs in the Elsternwick activity centre.
- This modest demand projection for Park and Ride parking suggests that other alternative site uses should be considered for the Park and Ride car park.
Park and Ride demand on the Bentleigh corridor is a serious issue. Along with all-day local worker parking demand, it will continue to exceed supply without behaviour change.
- Current demand for Park and Ride within the Bentleigh catchment slightly outstrips supply.
- It is likely that people are currently driving ‘up the line’ from places like Highett, Moorabbin and Patterson, which have fewer all-day parking spaces, to stations such as Bentleigh and Ormond to Park and Ride.
- By 2031 it is anticipated that there will be demand for a total of 279 Park and Ride spaces at Bentleigh (an undersupply of 73 spaces based on the number of existing all-day parking spaces in the centre).
- There is also demand from local workers in the Bentleigh catchment who also use the all-day parking available in the activity centre.
- By 2031 the Park and Ride demand plus local worker parking demand will equate to around 294 spaces.
Would the car parks create congestion within the activity centres?
New car parking capacity will not add significant demand for road space at either site. There is capacity in the networks.
What other opportunities would the car parks create?
In their report, Urbis has uncovered further benefits and value that the carparks could add to the community such as:
- Activation spaces provide opportunities for social programs and amenities.
- Cross usage between the sites and activity centre, benefiting traders and local economy.
- Artistic and permeable façade that celebrates local character and will improve the look and feel of the site and the community.
- Rooftop could provide creative opportunities that achieve sustainability goals.
- Positive social impact through rooftop and public open spaces.
- Landscape greenery that improves the air quality and social impact.
What is the main point of difference between the VLC report and the Urbis report?
When council commissioned the VLC report, the project was at a different stage and Council did not have the feasibility data it now has. The VLC report is more based on literature, where the Urbis report is more based on facts and data.
Stage 1 — Frequently Asked Questions
Thank you to the residents who joined us on Tuesday 16 November 2021 for a discussion on the proposed multi-deck commuter car parksat our online community workshop. We greatly appreciate the feedback that was provided. There were many questions and comments raised both verbally and through the chat function. We have collated these questions and provided responses where possible below.
Why car parks? Can the funding be used for something else?
A $660 million Commuter Car Park Fund has been established within the Urban Congestion Fund to invest in commuter car park upgrades that encourage greater use of public transport by increasing car park spaces next to train stations. Glen Eira City Council has been offered $20 million by the federal government to deliver projects under the Urban Congestion Fund. To receive the funding, Council must use it for its original purpose which is to design and construct car parking in Elsternwick and Bentleigh near train stations.
What will happen if Council does not accept the funding?
The money will be returned to the federal government and Council will not proceed with the car park projects.
Why did Council commission an independent probity report?
Because the distribution of funds under the Urban Congestion Fund was the subject of an Auditor-General’s report which highlighted a number of concerns about the granting process, Council commissioned an independent probity report to review any probity risks associated with utilising the grant money for the delivery of the two car park projects. The probity report concluded that with proper risk mitigations in place, Council should proceed with conducting community engagement to inform the decision-making about progressing (or not progressing) the car park projects.
Why did Council commission an independent report on the effectiveness for urban “congestion busting” measures?
Council commissioned an independent report by Veitch Lister Consulting to better understand the effectiveness of urban “congestion busting” measures such as commuter car parks, buses and protected bike paths in cities like Glen Eira. We will use the evidence to assist in our decision-making about progressing (or not progressing) the car park projects. The report findings will also be helpful to community members as they consider their feedback during the community engagement phase.
Why were these sites chosen?
The new proposed sites were chosen due to their closer proximity to the train stations and activity centres, and to allow for smaller-scale development.
How many spaces will be available at the car parks?
A total of 175 car parking spaces could be achieved at the Elsternwick site. This would be an additional 99 spaces to the currently existing car park.
A total of 197 car parking spaces could be achieved at the Bentleigh site. This would be an additional 59 spaces to the currently existing car park.
How long will the car park projects take?
If the proposed projects proceed, concept, scoping and feasibility development will begin in January 2022, with construction likely to commence in January 2023 and conclude in March 2024.
Would the commuter car parking be available for the general community on evenings and weekends?
Yes! This will also encourage late night and weekend visits to the commercial and retail centres around stations, further benefiting business owners in the community.
What impact would the car parks have on congestion towards the CBD?
In section 3.1 of the VLC Report, it states that “the increase in capacity park and ride at Bentleigh and Elsternwick can be expected to reduce the rate of car trips towards the CBD by about one third of all new users of the car parks, or in other words, every three new car parks will mean one less longer distance car trip towards the CBD.”
The impact on congestion was investigated further by Urbis, and they found that in Elsternwick a mode shift of less than 10 per cent would be achieved however in Bentleigh there is an opportunity to achieve a 10 per cent mode shift.
What impact would the car parks have on congestion in the immediate area (Bentleigh and Elsternwick)?
In section 4.2 of the VLC Report, it states that the “diversion of drivers to park and ride will have a small effect on congestion between the station and the CBD and surrounds as the likely destination, although potentially there will be a small increase in local traffic around the park and ride facilities.” The report goes on to conclude that “we can expect approximately one-third of park and ride users to divert to public transport rather than driving to their destination. This can be expected to generate congestion reduction benefits.” In section 5.4 of the report, it concludes that the slight increase in congestion may be more likely in Elsternwick.
The impact on congestion was investigated further by Urbis as part of feasibility, and they found that new car parking capacity would not add significant demand for road space at either site. There is capacity in the networks.
What will happen to the Rotary Club Bentleigh market?
If the project progresses to construction, the Rotary Club has expressed interest in the Bentleigh Market being permanently relocated within the Bentleigh activity centre, so the market can maintain it’s ‘open air’ quality. Council will engage with the community on the potential relocation should this occur.
What were the options raised by Council to the Federal Government originally? Were they related to the Integrated Transport Strategy?
In the structure plans for Bentleigh and Elsternwick there are two existing Council car parks identified for future multideck carparks. Council’s Structure Planning processes, informed by community consultation, identified a need for additional car parking in both Elsternwick and Bentleigh activity centres. While these processes did not explore commuter carparking specifically, the proposed car parks would also service the broader needs of the activity centre outside of commuter hours. The intent of consolidating some at grade car parks into a multideck facility would mean the vacated land could be made available for open space and other facilities to benefit the local community. The original sites were on Bleazby Street in Bentleigh and Stanley Street (East) in Elsternwick. The Federal Government were proposing to partially-fund projects on these sites.
Glen Eira’s Integrated Transport Strategy identifies that parking will continue to play an important role and complement our transport system. It is expected that the commuter carparks may play a role in encouraging more public transport trips, which may also assist in achieving our target of 50:50 mode share of car and non-car trips by 2031.
What would the cost be to use the parking?
Parking will be free of charge.
Has Council considered different locations? For example; the car park building on the Vic track owned site on the other side of the railway line in Nicholson Street.
To receive the funding, Council must build the carparks in the key areas identified by the Federal Government; Bentleigh and Elsternwick.
The previously identified locations on Bleazby Street in Bentleigh and Stanley Street (East) in Elsternwick were ruled out by Council as they were much larger sites and would have required a Council contribution to fund the multideck carparks. The new sites on Bent Street in Bentleigh and Stanley Street (West) in Elsternwick are better positioned in terms of proximity to the train stations and are smaller sites which means they can be fully funded by the Federal Government with no Council contribution required.
Havs Council considered placing a car park over railway opening?
This option is very cost prohibitive and wouldn’t be possible with the current allocated funding.
Does the funding have any conditions in relation to car parking time allocations?
There are not specific parking conditions associated with the funding regarding car parking time allocations, as commuters can work a variety of hours therefore making it difficult to set standard hours of use. The carparks will be open for traders, visitors and residents in non-peak times such as after hours and on weekends.
Why have the locations of the car park changed from the initial consultation?
There are a number of reasons why the proposed carpark sites in Elsternwick and Bentleigh have changed.
In 2020, Council undertook a phase of engagement to inform the community of the carpark proposals at Stanley Street (East) in Elsternwick and Bleazby Street in Bentleigh. Overall, the feedback from this consultation process raised several concerns with local residents and traders.
Following the community feedback, Council continued discussions with Commonwealth representatives to propose alternative possibilities of how the Commonwealth funding could be utilised.
Council was able to negotiate an increased funding commitment to a combined $20.6M, which would fully fund the construction of two commuter carparks at the new sites in Bentleigh and Elsternwick, allowing for smaller scale development and better access to train stations and other public transport options.
Is this a revenue raising exercise by Council?
No, parking will be free of charge.
Has Council considered how this project integrates with the Integrated Transport Strategy?
Glen Eira’s Integrated Transport Strategy identifies that parking will continue to play an important role and complement our public transport system. It is expected that the commuter carparks may play a role in encouraging more public transport trips, which may assist in achieving our target of 50:50 mode share of car and non-car trips by 2031.
How does this project integrate with the relevant structure plans for each site?
The car parks directly respond to the future needs of the respective Activity Centres as outlined in Council’s Structure Plans.
Council’s Structure Planning processes, informed by community consultation, identified a need for additional car parking in both Elsternwick and Bentleigh activity centres. While these processes did not explore commuter carparking specifically, the proposed car parks would also service the broader needs of the activity centre outside of commuter hours. The intent of consolidating some at grade car parks into a multideck facility could mean the vacated land would be made available for open space and other facilities to benefit the local community.
Has thought been given to a distributed car park plan?
At this stage, we have not yet developed this level of detail. Council is still in the process of deciding whether to accept the funding from the Federal Government’s Urban Congestion Fund. Should Council decide to progress with this project a detailed feasibility study and concept designs will be developed. Council will be proactively seeking to consult with the Glen Eira community during this next phase of the project.
Will Council consider moving the car parks underground?
Council explored the option of underground parking with the Federal Government, along with other Councils with similar funding arrangements. Unfortunately, due to the high cost of undergrounding the car parks, the Government were not supportive of this option as it was believed not to represent value for money and is not an investment they will fund.
What is happening to the original site for Elsternwick?
The structure plan for Elsternwick is undergoing a refresh and will be presented to Council in late 2022.
Why do I have to register on the site to complete the survey?
By registering before you complete the survey, we can ensure that the responses we receive are representative of the broader community's views. Unregistered participation can often skew the engagement results because it allows individuals to enter multiple responses.
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