LTA to have more power to tweak parking provisions in private developments for 'car-lite' drive

Private developments in future "car-lite precincts" may have less available parking, but more connectivity to public transport and alternative travel options such as walking and cycling.
Private developments in future "car-lite precincts" may have less available parking, but more connectivity to public transport and alternative travel options such as walking and cycling.PHOTO: BUSINESS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Motorists of the future will have all the more reason to leave their cars at home, with a proposed change to parking provisions in private buildings that will also free up land for other uses.

If the proposal is accepted, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will be able to more finely calibrate the amount of parking provided through a cap, freeing up space for other uses, the authority said on Monday (March 5).

Private developments in future "car-lite precincts", for instance, may have less available parking, but more connectivity to public transport and alternative travel options such as walking and cycling.

"This will also allow developers to trial new concepts of space and land planning and new parking concepts such as hub carparks," said the LTA. A hub carpark is one shared by a few buildings, a concept that is rare among private developments, which tend to provide their own parking.

Currently, the LTA's requirement is for a minimum number of parking spaces, based on a development's gross floor area. Private residential developments, for instance, generally must have at least one parking space per residential unit.

The proposed amendment to the Parking Places Act, put forth in Parliament on Monday , will give LTA the flexibility of specifying a range of parking provisions - the maximum number of spaces as well as minimum.

Parking policy expert Dr Paul Barter said hub carparks are a good idea because pooled parking is much more efficient. "Different buildings often have different times of peak parking demand," said Dr Barter, also an adjunct associate professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

However, he said it was "a pity to not be bold and just abolish" the minimum number of parking spaces required for buildings, as what is done in cities such as London and Berlin.

Removing the minimum parking provisions will allow developers to provide little or no parking in areas where there is good public transport connectivity, thus freeing up space for other uses, said Dr Barter.

But he said that private developers have a better sense of how much parking is required, based on the target market they serve, so allowing them to have some choice with a range is still a "step in the right direction".

The Parking Places (Amendment) Bill will be read for the second time and debated in Parliament later this month.

Details of when the new policy on parking provisions will take effect will be announced later.