Parking and public space management
The area around Ghent’s main train station and the CIVITAS ELAN corridor experiences a lot of traffic and parking spaces are limited. To counteract this, the city will limit the number of parking places for new and existing businesses.
Implementing sustainable mobility
Both businesses and residential areas are located in this densely built area. As a result car use is quite high, so parking spaces are limited. Since the implementation of paid parking, the pressure on parking availability has decreased. However, the availability for parking spots is still quite low, particularly for residents. When planning new offices, project developers are asked to foresee a minimum number of parking places for the employees working in the new buildings. Developers and city planners will also be advised to integrate car-sharing and measures to support car free living in their planning tools and to use space more efficiently.
The use of car parks owned by private companies for residential parking outside the usual working hours is completely new in Ghent. The objective is to reduce the use of the private car in the ELAN corridor and within the area around the train station. Through this measure, employees and residents will be supported and encouraged to use carpooling, public transport, walking or cycling.
Parking at the main station area
The parking policy around the main train station in Ghent changed following the opening of new underground parking. Long-term parking on public roads will be prohibited and car drivers can buy a half day ticket for a maximum of five hours. This new policy will provide more free parking spaces for inhabitants and clients of the local shops. People who want to park for a longer period will be directed to the new underground parking or even to the Park & Ride facility two kilometres away. From there, people can take the tram to the city centre.
Lower number of parking spaces for new building developments
The parking policy for the development of new houses and offices around the main railway station consists of the realisation of a clearly lower number of parking spaces in new buildings than usual. To keep parked cars of new residents out of the neighbourhood, the notarial contract will stipulate that no residential parking cards can be obtained for these new built houses. This part of the measure is not yet implemented since this part of the main station project is scheduled after the CIVITAS period. Developers and city planners will be advised to integrate car sharing and measures to support car free living in their planning tools and to use space more efficiently.
Ghent expects the measure will:
- Reduce parking pressure by 10 percent;
- Stimulate the use of sustainable transport modes;
- Limit parking for businesses in the ELAN corridor and especially around the train station;
- Introduce new criteria for residential parking; and
- Introduce car free housing concepts in the city.
- Parking pressure in main station area diminished
The implementation of the tariff zone 4 and the opening of the underground commuter parking next to the station resulted in a decrease of parked cars in the tariff zone 4 of 11%. This measure did not result in new problems in the adjoining neigbourhoods, except for the streets next to the Citadelpark. A widening of tariff zone 4 to this area is considered.
- Raising awareness
As a consequence of this measure’s study work, a lot of thinking about parking management within new projects has become a hot policy issue. In the next few years, next to the main train station area, many new developments are being planned in the inner city, within the old industrial “19th Century Belt” and in suburban areas. Sustainable development is becoming the key word within all these developments. Parking restrictions are an essential element in this discussion: clustering parking spaces (= more efficient, sustainable and cheaper), combined use of parking, intelligent pricing methods, integration of car sharing schemes within these developments, etc. These are all topics in planning new projects. This is mainly due to the fact that the CIVITAS-ELAN measure on parking management around the main train station area exists.
- Design study on spatial planning
The spatial planning survey of the main train station area was finished and approved in 2011. This study determines planning restrictions on the number of parking spots in new buildings and the combined use of private parking spots. In this survey, a lot of attention was paid to the number and the location of new parking lots for the project development