The government will increase the number of mandatory private car parking spaces required in all future housing developments, after recommendations from the Transport Department (TD) were endorsed by the Chief Executive’s Transport Advisory Committee (TAC) in a closed-door meeting today.
TD officials briefed TAC by videoconference on the need for more parking spaces and its proposed changes to the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG), which sets parking minimums for all private and subsidised housing in the city.
TD’s report is not available to the public, but last week TD told Transit Jam its intent was “increasing the number of private parking spaces in future housing developments and that it would to “promulgate the revised standards under the HKPSG in 2020 after consultation with relevant stakeholders.”
TAC Chairman Stephen Cheung Yan-leung says the committee, which advises Hong Kong’s leader on transport issues, supports TD’s “on-going endeavour to adopt a multi-pronged approach to increase the provision of parking spaces in an orderly manner”.
Cheung called on “stakeholders to continue supporting the TD in taking forward measures to increase the car parking provision.”
Neither TD or TAC have released details on who the stakeholders are, with reports unavailable to the public and all recommendations and subsequent promulgations made in private meetings.
TAC also says it will advise the CE to develop parking on certain vacant “Government, Institution or Community” sites, formerly pledged for recreational or outdoor use but not developed. The government identified around 150 such sites in its Hong Kong 2030+ Land Supply plan.
The number of parking spaces per car – known as the parking ratio – has fallen to around 1.1, from about 1.5 in 2006, as the number of private cars has grown rapidly in recent years. A report by the Director of Audit last year found street parking spaces in 15 of the city’s 37 districts were found to be almost always full, missing the government’s own target of having 15 per cent of spaces free at any one time.
Hong Kong’s strategy to add more private car parking spaces in housing developments contrasts with a global direction to remove parking minimums in new developments altogether. Berlin led the way in the 1990s while London abolished minimums in February 2004. Just this month, New Zealand’s National Policy Statement on Urban Development will force local councils to accept developments with no car parks, while Edmonton in Canada also stopped requiring developers to include car parks in new apartment blocks.
Hong Kong’s developers already enjoy free land concessions for all underground parking they add to their developments, while new “green” incentives give them free land for hooking up car parking to the grid – although they are not required to actually provide charging sockets to car park users under the scheme.