If outgoing Te Awamutu Community Board chair Gary Derbyshire had his way, local residents would be reversing into angle car parks, there would be designated parking areas for larger vehicles and towing vehicles and the disused Churchill Street land behind the Events Centre would be sealed for extra parking.

At this month's meeting, Gary presented an 11-point report, with 11 recommendations, on the state of parking in Te Awamutu.

With no election for Te Awamutu Community Board for the 2019-22 term, Gary will be able to continue working with Council to see parking improve in the town.

The comprehensive report covered a number of areas of concern raised by board members, the public, council staff, the business sector and enforcement.

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

The proposal to use the land behind the Events Centre for parking until a purpose for the area had been finalised was not supported by the board.

Staff had some reservations about the project and believed it would need more time to consider all the options.

Gary says he was disappointed with that outcome because it would provide a short-term solution to parking for commuters, tidy up the area in the interim and help to promote better commuting habits.

Likewise, the proposal to provide specific large and long vehicle parking received little support, which he found surprising.

But nine other recommendations did get approval, including a recommendation to trial reverse angle parking — a concept some board members had seen was favoured in parts of Australia.

The rationale is that the more dangerous reversing part of angle parking takes place into a static parking slot, rather than into oncoming traffic.

Gary says there are more larger SUV-type vehicle on the roads these days, so backing from an angle park is blind for many drivers, whereas driving straight out into the flow of traffic is easier and safer.

The report also addressed parallel parking, time restrictions, restricted parking spaces, the habits of CBD workers, service lanes, George Street carpark, parking on reserves and Selwyn Lane/Gorst Avenue parking and traffic flow.


The board agreed parallel parking spaces that were not individually marked often reduced the effective parking availability, as drivers didn't fully use the space.

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

Gary said a combination of poor parking skills and indifference to other drivers' needs seemed to be the reason for inconsiderate parking, but at least if spaces were marked most drivers adopted better habits.

The board wants council to review restricted parking spaces, such as taxi ranks, disabled parking, bus stops and loading zones to maximise available parking, while adequately providing for the needs of drivers who need a restricted space.

It also recommended council investigate designated centrally-located CBD loading zones for courier vehicles to dissuade the common practice of double parking.

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

The ongoing issue of workers parking half day or all day in restricted CBD areas was discussed.

It was agreed that time limit signs should better reflect the use of the precinct and that an education and enforcement programme be undertaken by council to modify behaviours.

Problems with access through the service lane behind The Warehouse complex was raised by the public.

An area of concern was the encroachment into the service lane by parked vehicles, bins and other items associated with businesses, and obstructions by heavy vehicles unloading, or waiting for access to Countdown Supermarket.

The board favoured a dual approach of education and enforcement to prevent the misuse of the service lane.

Parking on reserves was also noted as an issue, most commonly Selwyn Park, but also Rewi Maniapoto Reserve, Victoria Park, Russell Reserve and Albert Park and some of the smaller reserves.

They recommended that a combination of signage, barriers and low maintenance planting be employed to dissuade the practice.

The last concept was to reintroduce the idea of a one-way system for Gorst Avenue and Selwyn Lane, favouring entry from Arawata Street and exit onto Māhoe Street.

Gary says the current two-way design can cause issues in terms of the width of some vehicles, especially as it is a bus route.

A one-way system would make it safer in what has been designed as a high pedestrian area, and with the current angle parking system on the Pop 'n' Good/Rose Gardens side of the road, it could provide the ideal located for the reverse parking trial.

Gary says the adoption of the majority of the recommendations means the new Te Awamutu Community Board would be able to welcome the opportunity to be fully involved in the forthcoming parking management review and look forward to positive changes for Te Awamutu.