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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Multi-Storey Car Mausoleums Are Our 'Horse Graveyards'

Good piece in today's West Australian by Kate Emery, who does us all a great service by drawing attention to the myopia of planning ('They shoot horses, don't they', West Australian, 11th November 2015), using the example of the 'horse graveyards' planned as an 'inevitable' result of dependence on horse-drawn transport in the 19th century.

Our horse graveyards are already with us, in the form of multi-storey car parks. These single-purpose mausoleums are home to inanimate car bodies for most of the day and empty by night.

There is nothing new in planners wanting to reduce our dependence on the private car by creating more accessible places. Twenty years ago, the Perth Metropolitan Transport Strategy stated on its front cover:
"Perth will be a place of vitality and well-being. There will be a sharing of spaces for living, work and leisure activities, which can be reached easily and safely by all members of the community".

If we were actually to achieve this, many of these car mausoleums would be redundant. Indeed, we can already see the beginnings of this in reduced charges (because of lower demand) for car parking in the central city.

Now we need to take the next step and start to reduce the amount of car parking, including requirements in local government town planning schemes - which also increases the density and activity we can get in an area. To do so requires governments to get serious about creating more accessible places, not simply set arbitrary infill development targets, and to make alternatives to the car (public transport, walking and cycling) feasible options for as many of us, in as many places and for as much of the day as possible.
West Australian, 11th November, 2015
Written and Posted by Ian Ker, Convenor, STCWA

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