Car-parking is major problem for many people who live, work or visit the City of Melbourne.
For developers, businesses and residents in Docklands and the proposed E-Gate site, there is an even more challenging problem; car parks cannot be built underground because of the high water table and the infamous Coode Island silt. This means that most car parking around the harbour has to built above ground.
To achieve this, developers have two options and neither are appealing. One is to build podium type car-parks into the lower levels of buildings; this not only expensive, but in many instances it is a waste of floor space that most businesses would prefer to dedicate to their front door and main public facing facilities.
The other option is to devote entire buildings to car parking, as is the case with the Harbour Town car-park (pictured above). The Harbour Town car-park occupies almost one hectare of valuable real-estate. Ironically though, this car-park has never been operated to capacity, due to poor visitor numbers to the area. What is even more unfortunate is that it is located directly next to the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel; anyone taking a ride on the wheel will probably wonder what the appeal is in looking at a hectare of empty car-park spaces
Without doubt, parking will eventually become a major concern residents, workers and visitors to this corner of the city. The question becomes whether we really want to see more car-park buildings dominating the Docklands and potentially the E-Gate landscape.