Published April 10, 2008


Developers decide how much space to allot to carparks in new buildings

WE refer to your article, 'Parking squeeze may take shine off new buildings' (BT, March 29), which suggests that there would be a potential shortage of carpark lots in new office and commercial buildings due to the government's rule on the provision of parking lots. This is inaccurate.

Singapore adopts the approach where the government determines the minimum parking provision based on the given gross floor area (GFA) of the development. Developers can provide for more parking lots than this stipulated minimum. Hence both the actual number of parking lots provided and the parking charges imposed are market driven, as they are left to individual developers and carpark operators to determine.

Developers have to decide how they will balance the different uses for their building space to maximise returns and meet the parking needs of tenants and customers, taking into consideration the transport infrastructure in the vicinity. This approach helps ensure adequate parking provision for the development, while allowing the market to optimise the use of the space in the building.

LTA reviews the minimum standard for carparking provision regularly to reflect the demand for carpark space, based on the actual occupancy of the carparks and taking into consideration improvements in the public transport system which provides an alternative travel mode to the car.

The developments around the city centre, including Marina Bay, are planned with extensive Rapid Transit System network coverage. The carpark provision standard is therefore generally lower than other areas with a less extensive rail network.

In the larger context of land-scarce Singapore, we should not subsidise the costs of car usage by overspecifying carpark provision that is not subject to market forces. In fact, in other major cities, first- class office buildings often have low carpark provision and most office staff take public transport to work. Marina Bay has been planned with access to public transport and pedestrian connectivity in mind.

We would also like to clarify that the Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) does not have 'hub status'. It is subject to the common parking standard of one carpark per 425 square metres for non-residential uses in white sites.

Lina Lim
Transport Planning
Land Transport Authority (LTA)

BT's Editor replies: BT believes that in practice, there could be a shortage of carpark lots in new office and commercial buildings, as developers are unlikely to convert commercial space - which offers higher yields - to carpark lots.

BT has confirmation that Marina Bay Financial Centre has been allowed 250 additional carpark lots, as it will provide parking space to serve visitors to the nearby central promontory site.