An answer to one of the Napier City Council's most vexing problems is expected to be found with the creation of a bus terminus in a council carpark in Clive Square.
The plans were unveiled by Mayor Barbara Arnott yesterday, meeting early acclaim not only as a resolution to coachline parking problems in Napier but also as a fillip to Clive and Memorial squares and the western end of the Emerson St shopping precinct.
The area, on Carlyle St between Tennyson St and Carlyle St West is currently council-owned leased parking space for up to 38 vehicles.
Angle-parked, up to five buses will be able to park on the site in areas intended to be the main pick-up and drop-off point for InterCity Coachlines and other longer-haul services such as Naked Bus in Napier, a city-to-city bus hub for Hawke's Bay and the East Coast.
Mrs Arnott said it will allow for some street parking of buses at peak load times, although no pick-up or drop-off would be permitted on the street.
The issue has been the council's Achilles' heel since InterCity pulled out of the Napier Travel Centre former railway station site off Munro St almost three years ago.
There was then criticism firstly of bus parking on Marine Parade near Marineland without public facilities, but a shift to the western side of Dalton St, in the CBD, was even worse, with bus and passenger congestion and shortages of car parking in the area in retail business hours.
Public toilets and a covered shelter with seating are expected to be provided and the Council expects capital and maintenance costs for the depot to be about $460,000, for which some contribution will be sought from the bus companies as the Council tries to avoid a cost to ratepayers.
"The site, if utilised, means heavy traffic will not be drawn through the city or along Marine Parade, and it is closer to the CBD and facilities," Mrs Arnott said. "The Council hopes the facility works and the companies come to the party financially." She said that in the growing debate Napier people had been very constructive with suggestions for the commercial city-to-city buses.
A plan of the area shows buses would enter from Carlyle St, near the traffic lights at its intersection with Tennyson St, and exit right on to Clive Square West.
Square-side publican Joe Taylor said establishing a terminus on the site would be good for "this end of town," with the square providing an attractive welcome to the city, along with proximity to fastfood outlets, restaurants and bars.