Wayne Thompson

Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Aucklanders could be paying more for parking

Rush hour traffic heading in to Auckland CBD. File photo / NZ Herald
Rush hour traffic heading in to Auckland CBD. File photo / NZ Herald

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Auckland Council is suggesting a comprehensive shake up for parking in central city and outlying town centres, which could mean higher costs to park your car and fewer places you can.

In releasing a discussion paper today, council agency Auckland Transport says parking is a tool to make the transport network more efficient and there is a need to balance the needs of all road users.

Complaints to the agency showed Auckland's present parking policies were not work well and were causing conflicts for businesses, residents and commuters over limited spaces, particularly in the city fringe.

The discussion papers calls for public views on suggestions, which include:

Extending central city parking scheme to other main regional centres, by which time limits are removed but motorists will pay incrementally more after the first hour for on-street parking and are offered cheaper off-street parking as an alternative. The goal is 85% per cent occupancy of street parking spaces

Extending time-restricted parking to smaller town centres.

Introducing more resident parking permit scheme to city fringe suburbs, to discourage
commuter parking (for more than two hours), along the lines of a pilot scheme in St Marys Bay.

Extend clearway restrictions along arterial routes important for frequent bus services and cycling.

Auckland Transport's general manager of strategy and planning, Peter Clark, said this was the first time parking is able to be reviewed right across the region.

The review looks at the use of Park and Rides, residential parking zones, managing on and off street parking in the central city, clearest times on arterial roads and parking in town centres.

"We are aiming to set a clear and consistent direction for Auckland's parking in future, which will be good for all road users, adjacent businesses and residents and we want to make sure we are making the right decisions for Auckland's future.

"As our city grows and develops rapidly, now is the time to take a look at how we most effectively manage the range of parking options for the city.

"Parking affects everyone in the region in one way or another. From the submissions we receive, we will develop a Parking Strategy for Auckland.

"As Auckland grows, it is an increasing challenge to balance the competing demands on the road network. Parking is not only vital to the safe and efficient operation of that network, but also supports economic development and has a major impact on placemaking, public transport, walking and cycling."

The paper calls for regional consistency, which means looking at not only the CBD but fringe centres and moving in stages on Manukau and Takapuna city centres to be followed by Newmarket, Ponsonby and Papakura.

The third stage of parking management takes in Devonport, Otahuhu, Silverdale.

Towns from Pukekohe to Warkworth will also get a parking management plan.

The paper suggest putting the brakes on commuters who are parking in city fringe streets and either walk or take one-stage bus ticket to place of work or study.

This could be extending a trial to other places that has been successful in St Marys Bay.

Here there is a blanket two-hour restriction and residents can buy permits for the right to park outside their homes.

However, the agency says there would have to be cap on parking permits, with older homes getting priority.

The paper calls for views on Auckland Transport parking buildings favouring short-term casual parking for shoppers, business or leisure over the interests of all-day 9-5 commuters, who clogged roads at peak times.

One idea is to encourage short term parking with a "congestion buster" discount to vehicles that did not use the car park during peak congestion times.

As demand for short-term parking increased, commuter parking could be phased out and public transport use encouraged.

Parking on arterial roads such as Tamaki Drive and Remuera Rd in favour of extending clearways will also be examined.

The agency says on street parking needs to be carefully managed because parked vehicles interfere with the frequency and reliability of bus services and the passage of cyclists.

Bans on parking could be imposed, with different timing and detail to suit each arterial road.

It is suggested to stop issuing many monthly and yearly parking permits given by the former councils.

More than 6000 parking permits are issued each year and the free parking system for contractors and trades people has drawn complaints in shopping streets.

The alternative is to use parking in the city centre where time limits have been removed and anyone can park for the time they require through the meter.

Paid on-street parking in each town centre could go up or down according to demand which will be regularly monitored.

Auckland Transport is keen to get the public's thoughts by June 30 on the following:

•The city centre, metropolitan and town centres

•Residential streets

•Off-street parking facilities (parking buildings)

•On-street parking restrictions

•Arterial roads (phasing out on-street parking)

•Parking permits

• Park and rides

On the web: www.at.govt.nz

- NZ Herald

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