Wayne Thompson

Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Auckland suburbs face parking fees, limits

Residents’ permits, park-and-ride charges other moves Auckland Transport eyeing to cut commuter traffic

Auckland Transport says population growth will put extra pressure on scarce road space needed for better public transport, walking and cycling. Photo / NZ Herald
Auckland Transport says population growth will put extra pressure on scarce road space needed for better public transport, walking and cycling. Photo / NZ Herald

Parking fees or time limits in Auckland suburban centres, reserving 60 per cent of neighbourhood parking for residents with permits and introducing charges at park-and-ride stations are among measures being considered to tackle road congestion.

As the Super City prepares to cram in up to a million more residents over the next 30 years, parking fees and time limits may spread to many more parts of Auckland in an attempt to cut commuter traffic and create a public-transport culture.

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Auckland Transport says population growth will put extra pressure on scarce road space needed for better public transport, walking and cycling.

An IT discussion document suggests rolling out parking schemes as far from Queen St as Pukekohe and Warkworth, and communications manager Sharon Hunter expects thousands of submissions to at.govt.nz/parkingfeedback by June 30.

The paper does not nominate set fees but cites an upgraded CBD parking scheme as a potential model for other large metropolitan parts of the city.

That saw time limits for street parking abolished in late 2012, with hourly rates between $2 and $4 doubling after the first two hours.

Ms Hunter denied that the change was a revenue-gathering ploy. Although money collected through fees had increased, the scheme — which is supported by the Heart of the City business association — was "revenue neutral" because infringement notices to non-payers had fallen about 25 per cent, she said.

The new document also suggests reserving up to 60 per cent of street parking in fringe suburbs around the central city for holders of residents' permits.

That would be along the lines of a trial in St Marys Bay where general users can stay no longer than two hours.

Auckland Transport said it had received many complaints from inner-city residents about commuters parking on their streets and walking into work.

Others possible measures include reducing parking on arterial routes where Auckland Transport wants to encourage greater use of buses or bicycles, and providing large increases in park-and-ride areas around bus, train and ferry facilities, even if that means charging motorists to use them.

Auckland Transport has indicated it may even consider extra levies on private and public parking buildings or on employers who provide staff with free parking, to pay for free public transport within its city centre.

Employers and Manufacturers Association chief Kim Campbell said his members would oppose the measure, which could fall hardest on people having to work unsociable hours without access to public transport.

Mr Campbell noted that former Revenue Minister Peter Dunne was given short shrift by an alliance of business and union leaders when he proposed a similar idea early last year.

Franklin Local Board chairman Andy Baker said the discussion document seemed "city-centric" and his body would oppose parking fees in rural centres.

"Pukekohe is very much a service town — people come in to do a range of things and it's different from the city," he said.

Auckland Transport's parking design and policy manager, Scott Ebbett, said fees in the larger centres were kept under regular review. They could be adjusted to achieve optimum occupancy of between 70 and 90 per cent.

That would ensure people could always find somewhere to park, and relieve congestion by not forcing them to drive around and around looking for a space.

Green Party transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter welcomed the document, saying Auckland had an enormous amount of land reserved for off-street parking which should be used to unclog busy roads.

AA spokesman Barney Irvine, whose organisation opposed the inner Auckland parking scheme until a proposed fee rise was abandoned, said he intended consulting members before commenting.


What is being suggested

Large metropolitan areas: No parking time limits, but fees to be adjusted according to demand.

Smaller town centres: Extension of time-limited parking.

Off-street parking: Greater provision for short-stay parking at council buildings, while phasing out commuter custom.

Residents' parking schemes: Extension of schemes reserving up to 60 annual permits.

Arterial roads: Extensions of no-parking clearways.

Park and ride: Trebling spaces at public transport stations to about 15,000 by 2041. Possible introduction of parking charges.

Parking levies: To be reconsidered for both public and private off-street parking, including free spaces now provided by employers to staff.


How other councils charge for parking

Hamilton City Council: Central-city on-street meter $2 per hour, Monday-Saturday 8am-6pm, limited up to 2 hours at a time. Garden Place car hours $8,4hours plus (maximum per day) $10. Early bird $8 a day.

Tauranga City Council: Central-city green zone on street $2 an hour, outer zone $1 an hour. No time limits.

Wellington City Council: Central-city on-street Monday-Friday peak time $4 an hour, outer zone $3 an hour and other zone $1.50 an hour.

- NZ Herald

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