This school holidays was the perfect opportunity for a ‘stay-cation’. Floriade was in full bloom, the weather was beautiful and, for the first time, there was no pressure to get a parking spot outside our national attractions.
A visit to the National Library – once a daunting task due to its notoriously-full car park – was a breeze.
Circling the National Museum of Australia car park was a thing of the past. A prime spot at the front door gave us more time to visit the fabulous Spirited exhibition.
Interstate visitors to the National Portrait Gallery were impressed by more than the art – they were also impressed by the ease with which they were able to get in and out for the price of some loose change.
Anecdotally, sales of bicycles are on the rise as people embrace pedal power, and there have been noticeably more cyclists around the Parliamentary Triangle in the last few weeks – something that is good for both wallets and waistlines. While Canberra has the lowest obesity rate in the nation, two thirds of us are still overweight – so more walking and riding will be marvellous for our midriffs.
ACTION has reported an increase of more than 500 people catching the bus to and from work in the Parliamentary Zone each day – and as the services increase, so too will the convenience of catching the bus.
Driving to work has an environmental cost – and 22 percent of the ACT’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transport. If a third of us embrace sustainable public transport options – buses, bikes, walking and carpooling – our emissions will drop by an estimated 14 percent.
Paid parking in the Parliamentary Zone also rebalances the inequity that has commuters pay for all-day parking elsewhere in Canberra, including Civic and the town centres, for years.
In a geographically dispersed city like Canberra, there will always be a need for cars. But that doesn’t mean that cars should be king, and the new paid parking regime will help us build a more welcoming, more sustainable Canberra.
Catherine Carter is ACT Executive Director of the Property Council of Australia