A multi-deck carpark at Frankston station is closer to reality after Tuesday night’s federal Budget. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Government would increase its contribution by $19 million for the $87 million project, which will provide 515 new car spaces. The extra cash brings the Federal Government’s contribution to $43.5 million. The State Government is also contributing $43.5 million.
The proposed carpark has a chequered history. It was first announced on September 3, 1975, when it became clear Frankston’s CBD was becoming heavily affected by all-day commuter parking, making life difficult for traders and staff, shoppers and visitors. When the Victorian government decided in 2015 to replace Frankston station, the long-awaited multi-deck carpark was omitted from the project, much to the astonishment of many in the community. The government allocated $63 million for the new station and development of the adjacent part of Young St. The work included new bus stops, wider footpaths, landscaping and Young St road improvements “to reduce congestion” – but no increase of the 416-space ground-level carpark off Fletcher Rd.
Pre-COVID, more than 3000 train commuters drove or were driven to Frankston station each weekday. The station carpark was full before 6.30am and prices for all-day parking in Frankston skyrocketed from $5 to as much as $15 a day – 10 per cent of the minimum wage. Before the 2018 state election, the government did a U-turn and promised $17.5 million to co-fund a 500-space multi-deck carpark if re-elected, asking for the Federal Government to match the funding, which both the Coalition and the Opposition agreed to do.
Committee for Greater Frankston CEO Ginevra Hosking welcomed the extra federal cash for the Frankston carpark but noted promised new commuter parking at Seaford and Kananook stations would not be built. The 100 carparks at these two stations would have cost about $14 million all up.
“The new Frankston multi-deck is long overdue – 45 years, actually – but now is really just a stopgap measure, a temporary fix,” Ms Hosking said. “Inadequate public transport to and through Frankston, and its consequence – an over-dependence on overly expensive parking – has become a barrier to economic growth and job creation in our CBD. The strategic solution is to move commuter parking out of the CBD by extending the train line to Langwarrin or Baxter and build dedicated commuter carparks. New stations on the extended train line would become the backbone of an improved bus system. Frankston traders, business owners, workers, commuters, shoppers and visitors are telling us Frankston’s economy won’t flourish without a strategic public transport solution to the lack of affordable car parking in the city centre.”
Ms Hosking said extending and electrifying the line beyond Frankston was first recommended in 1929 as a strategic solution by a parliamentary committee. “We’re still left waiting.”