Higher charges planned for inner city parking

By Mathew Dearnaley

Drivers face higher parking charges on central Auckland streets, but those prepared to pay up to double the existing hourly rates will be allowed to stay as long as they like.

Auckland Transport yesterday announced a new scheme in which charges are likely to rise in the city centre - subject to public consultation - but fall in many streets further out.

Evening parking will also be charged for the first time in the central zone, between 6pm and 10pm, although not at the full rate.

Parking will be free for the first 10 minutes in each of two new zones, and existing time limits of up to 120 minutes will be abolished.

Goods loading zones will remain, but P5, P10 and P15 parking spaces will be changed to pay-and-display, reducing visual "clutter" from signs.

The new scheme, on which the public can have its say over the next three weeks, will include graduated charges.

That will mean higher charges for each hour after the first 60 minutes.

Parking on inner-city streets, many of which now have a 60-minute limit at a charge of $4, will cost $5 for the first hour and $8 for each extra hour.

For example, it will cost $13 to park for two hours and $21 for three hours.

That will make Auckland Transport parking buildings cheaper propositions after the first hour.

All-day "earlybird" parking will also become more attractive, at $13 in public facilities and less in some privately owned buildings.

But drivers will be able to pay for extra on-street parking in $1 increments, which will buy 12 minutes in the first hour in the central zone, or 7.5 minutes after that.

Proposed charges on streets in a secondary parking zone, such as the northern side of Mayoral Drive, will be $3 for the first hour and $5 for each extra hour.

That will make the first hour's parking cheaper than the existing charge of $4 for the maximum time of 60 minutes in some of those streets, although the fee for each subsequent hour from Monday to Friday will be $5.

Parking will remain free in the secondary zone after 6pm, but new evening charges will be introduced for inner streets, of $2 for the first hour and $3 for each extra hour.

The proposed new scheme is welcomed by the Heart of the City business association as promising better management of scarce parking spaces.

Chief executive Alex Swney said it should free up space and provide greater flexibility by allowing drivers to buy extra time in $1 increments.

But the Automobile Association says the scheme is a "mixed bag of good and bad news" for motorists, and Auckland councillor Cameron Brewer warned last night it would send more shoppers to suburbs and malls.

- NZ Herald

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