After two years of trials and plenty of confused shoppers, work to finalise car parking changes in Rotorua's inner city is well underway.
In November, the Rotorua Lakes Council agreed on final parking arrangements in the CBD following a two-year trial and feedback from inner city stakeholders and the wider community.
There will be a mix of free 60-minute parking and paid parking for a maximum of three hours in the inner city zone.
Free 60-minute maximum parking will be available along most of Tutanekai St and adjoining parts of Arawa, Haupapa, Pukuatua, Hinemoa and Eruera streets.
The remaining sections of the five cross streets, extending to Ranolf St in the west and Fenton St in the east, will have $1-an-hour parking for up to three hours.
The rest of the inner city, including the Pukuatua St carpark building will remain unchanged.
Disability and P15 parking will continue to be provided and could be increased if demand dictates.
Council staff have started changing signs and removing parking meters which are no longer needed. About 1100 remaining meters and pay-and-display units need to be individually recalibrated and parking sensors need to be re-set.
The council's Transport Solutions director Stavros Michael said the changes needed to occur over a period of time because they were labour intensive.
"We do regret any confusion the transition is causing but it has been necessary to do it in this staged way because of the time the changes take," he said.
"If people are confused, where there are parking meters they should heed what's on the meter and where there are no meters, they should check for nearby signage."
The two-year inner city parking trial, which resulted in the changes, began in December 2013 and saw the creation of two-hour free parking. This was amended to a mix of P60 and P90 in December 2014 to better align capacity and actual demand for parking.
"The trial has been about establishing a long-term solution for parking in the inner city as part of council's work to revitalise the central city area and retail," Mr Michael said.
Data collected during the trial showed that about 85 per cent of people parking in Rotorua's inner city remain in a park for up to 60 minutes with 71 per cent in parks for under 30 minutes and 15 per cent in a park for between 30 and 60 minutes.
Occupancy during peak times of 11am to 2pm is 80 per cent in Tutanekai and Eruera streets, 55 per cent in Hinemoa St, 90 per cent in Pukuatua St and 65 per cent in Haupapa St. Outside of peak times the average demand over an entire business day is about 65 per cent.
- Changes effective from January 25
- Current free P90 becoming free P60
- Metered and pay and display spaces $1 per hour for maximum 3 hours
- What were free parking sections - bound by Ranolf St and Fenton St - will become paid parking
- Pukuatua St carpark building available $1 per hour - no time maximum