Cherie Howie

Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Locals fear loss of carparking

Inner-city residents pay for permits, commuters get two hours free.

Mike Lee. Photo / Glenn Jeffrey
Mike Lee. Photo / Glenn Jeffrey

Auckland Council is considering a city parking scheme.

Residents of Auckland's city fringe are worried their streets could become "parking lots" under Auckland Transport plans timed to take place after October's local body elections.

The St Marys Bay Association wrote to residents this month warning the council-controlled organisation was considering a coupon parking scheme where commuters pay to park in streets just outside the city centre.

"This makes a mockery of Auckland Council's policy of promoting public transport.

Instead of commuters taking public transport from their homes, they're taking it from our homes and turning our streets into parking lots," the letter said.

A trial parking scheme was set up in St Marys Bay last year after residents complained commuters were using street parking. Residents pay to park on the street and visitors park free for up to two hours during the day.

The trial was renewed for a second year last month, but a July 31 Auckland Transport online survey of parking did not mention any proposed coupon scheme, the letter says.

Auckland Council was planning to put a new inner-city parking scheme to the public for consultation in October, "probably after the council elections", it said.

Association secretary Wendy Moffett said the allegations were based on an email from Auckland Transport parking design team leader Scott Ebbett.

The email to the association said Auckland Transport wanted to cater to businesses and anyone wanting to stay longer than two hours. "At this stage we are looking at having a system where people can pay to park within the zone for longer than two hours ... similar to Wellington where coupons are available."

In Wellington, workers have to pay $7.50 to park in inner-city suburbs from which they could walk or take a short bus ride to the city.

Waitemata and Gulf ward councillor Mike Lee, also chairman of Auckland Council's transport sub-committee and is on Auckland Transport's board, said Auckland Transport was being deliberately vague.

Auckland Transport spokeswoman Sharon Hunter issued a statement from chief executive David Warburton that confirmed a proposed parking policy was in the early stages. Any future proposal would go to consultation, Warburton said.

"There is nothing conspiratorial in this action."

Jervois Rd clothes boutique owner Caroline Ellwood said businesses should be catered for under any new policy.

"I pay $8000 a year in rates with no parking," she said.

- Herald on Sunday

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