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As Vehicles Have Grown Larger, Parking Areas May, Too


The Australia Letter is a weekly e-newsletter from our Australia bureau. Enroll to get it by e-mail.

Large American-style pickup vans are having a surge of recognition in Australia, to the annoyance of some drivers.

“The Individuals are coming for our roads, hogging them up with their obnoxious, grand previous vans,” one information story introduced. One other described it as a “tsunami of supersized American pickup-style vans.” And some have cited stories of those automobiles seemingly getting caught attempting to make it round roundabouts, a uncommon characteristic on American roads however extraordinarily widespread in Australia.

Though the recognition of American-style utes — utility automobiles, aka pickup vans — is a comparatively latest one, Australian automobiles have been steadily getting greater for the previous few many years. SUVs and light-weight business automobiles — which incorporates utes — made up 77 % of the brand new automobiles bought in Australia in 2022, in response to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries. A decade in the past, the 2 classes made up lower than 50 % of gross sales.

It’s change into noticeable sufficient that Requirements Australia, the nongovernmental physique that units the nation’s parking area measurement necessities, desires to extend the size of off-street parking spots by 20 centimeters, or simply below eight inches, to “accommodate the pattern of bigger automobiles on Australian roads.”

In making the advice — which is open for public remark till subsequent week — the company’s normal supervisor, Adam Stingemore, mentioned that the scale of parking bays was final reviewed in 2004. “At the moment, “about 13 % of our nationwide car fleet was an SUV,” he mentioned. “It’s now about 40 %. As our automobiles have modified, we additionally want to contemplate our automobile parks.”

That is despite the fact that present Australian automobile areas, at 5 meters, 40 centimeters, or over 17 toes lengthy, are already comparatively giant by worldwide requirements, in response to Marion Terrill, the Transport and Cities program director on the Grattan Institute suppose tank. A regular parking area in the UK, for instance, is simply 8 by 16 toes — so small that one evaluation discovered that about 150 automobile fashions don’t slot in it.

Ms. Terrill says Australia’s already beneficiant parking areas are a part of the rationale our automobiles have been steadily getting greater, sending an implicit message to drivers that “massive is both completely nice or truly fairly good.”

One other issue behind the rise is tax incentives, she mentioned, which have lowered the price of shopping for a car for each companies and people. “Some individuals will take that saving within the type of an even bigger car,” she mentioned.

Consultants have raised plenty of issues associated to those bigger automobiles, primarily round their excessive gasoline utilization and emissions, and the elevated danger of great harm they pose to different automobiles, pedestrians and cyclists.

Extra massive automobiles taking to the roads may make house owners of smaller automobiles extra inclined to improve, Ms. Terrill mentioned.

“It’s not good for us, collectively, if there’s an arms race for ever-bigger automobiles,” she mentioned. “However for those who’re in an accident, the larger the opposite car, is the more serious it’s going to be for you — so you possibly can see the place individuals are coming from.”


On one other observe: Final week, we requested readers how they have been getting ready for and feeling a few summer season of fires and smoke, forward of what’s broadly anticipated to be our worst fireplace season because the lethal 2019-2020 summer season. We acquired many considerate, detailed responses, which we’re slowly working our approach by means of — thanks to everybody who wrote to us!

Now for this week’s tales.


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