17 February 2023

POLL: e-scooter irritation and apartment parking pain

| Genevieve Jacobs
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New apartment building.

Will new apartments have parking spaces for everyone in the future? Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Canberra’s love affair with e-scooters appears to be over, according to this week’s poll.

European cities, including Paris, are considering banning the short-trip vehicles, and plenty of comments indicated that Canberrans share the irritation over everything from irresponsible riding to helmets and scooters strewn over footpaths.

Capital Retro described them as “more invasive than cane toads – and uglier”.

TJ spoke for many with this comment: “As a cyclist, I have had so many close calls with inexperienced scooter riders or those with no situational awareness riding these pay-as-you-go public scooters in Canberra.

“Often they are swerving all over the bike paths and lanes with the riders wearing headphones (and as such no helmet!) so they are completely oblivious to other uses of the paths. Having to dodge abandoned scooters that are left lying on the ground is also dangerous as it often requires a cyclist to move off the path or onto the road.”

Not everyone agreed.

Michael Collins wrote: “I’d love to hear the same people complain as much about cars. If they did, we’d have much safer streets, better environmental standards and more car-free areas. But no, a device that emits no pollution and only goes as fast as a bike gets all the blame”.

We asked Are you over e-scooters? A total of 1164 readers voted.

Your choices were to vote No, they’re fun, fast and fabulous. This received 29 per cent of the total, or 342 votes. Alternatively, you could vote Yes, they’re an annoying menace and I’m sick to death of them. This received 71 per cent of the total, or 822 votes.

This week, we’re wondering how you feel about apartment buildings that don’t have parking spaces.

READ ALSO More pain than gain from apartment blocks without parking

Planning Minister Mick Gentleman has acknowledged that developers have already begun reducing, or at least trying to reduce, the number of parking spaces they have to provide based on the site’s proximity to public transport. For some, the argument will be made that access to light rail will reduce demand.

This will mean reduced costs for developers who may not have to build expensive basement car parks, resulting in more affordable apartments and more choice for home buyers. Parking spaces will also become a premium option for buyers.

Argument raged among readers about the wisdom of this planning direction.

Earthdog wrote: “Mr Gentleman says that the ACT is preparing for a time when the public transport system is so good that some people will not need a car. This century is it, Mick?”

But Julian Sortland asked: “Why not make the sale or rental of the unit and the parking spots separate? I think my grandmother had the option of also buying either undercover or outdoor parking when she bought in Manly in about 1969.”

And Rosalind Turner had a challenge for the Minister. She wrote: “Does Mick Gentleman take public transport everywhere? I dare him to try it for a month to try to get to all of his appointments … making sure some are in West Belconnen and South Tuggeranong, and then let’s see how much he supports the removal of cars then!”

Our poll question for this week is:

Should new apartment blocks have car spaces for each occupant?

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The ACT Government is anti-car – of course they want to get rid of parking.

you’re making the act government sound way cooler than they actually are lol

Easy fix. Do like they do in Japan and require that people prove they have a parking space before they can buy a car. If you buy an apartment without parking then you can’t have a car. If you want to have a car, buy an apartment with enough parking spaces. No need for social engineering by the Government, Let the market sort it out.

devils_advocate1:36 pm 21 Feb 23

Including second-hand cars?

That’s a push polling question. No development needs a car park for ‘each’ person. Surely there’s a better question to gauge people’s thoughts.

Tell me again…… why would we force a blind person to pay for a carpark that they can’t use? About 15% of Australians over the age of 16 don’t have a driving licence.

It’s all well and good to want and pay for a car park, but it id unreasonable to require one to be provided to those who don’t want one! Many people want baths too, but it shouldn’t be a requirement for all apartments to have baths!

There’s a difference between wanting a bath (which is a luxury when there’s already a shower) and needing to own a car to get to work because Canberra is a decentralised city where public transport isn’t and will never be feasible for the majority of people.

Julia Sisson-Jackson5:25 pm 19 Feb 23

It is reasonable for a government to require accommodation developments to be built with sufficient carparks for each tenant and each tenant’s ancillary needs such as delivery vehicles, rubbish collectors and visitors (yes, reasonable to plan for tenants to have visitors). Without every development being self-sufficient in these car parking NEEDS, it’s a no-brainer developments will impose on citizens living in surrounding streets.
By the ACT land planning authorities allowing themselves to be captured by developers, they hurt citizens by encouraging stressful living conditions and also hurt the ACT Government’s longer term purposes and responsibilities to its people.

Public transport will never replace private transport, this is a silly idea. Especially in Canberra and even more so with the bus system going backwards last few years.

However the scooters are fantastic. They maybe just need more dedicated paths.

Maybe not dedicated paths, but dedicated storage places – none of this “just pick up a scooter from the sidewalk and then leave it somewhere else on the sidewalk wherever you want” silliness. Have specific places where people can get a scooter and take them back to.

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