A new proposal to keep free parking in Tutanekai St but reintroduce paid parking meters on the adjacent streets is being put to the public.

A two-year trial of free and paid parking arrangements in Rotorua's inner city is nearing an end.

The recommendation, made by the Inner City Focus Group's 16 block champions, will go out for four weeks of consultation from Monday.

A recent workshop for block champions - business owners representing inner city blocks - reviewed current and past parking arrangements, analysed parking space occupancy data from parking sensors, and created the proposal.

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The group recommends existing 90-minute free parking spaces along Tutanekai St become 60-minute free parking, along with reduced sections of Arawa, Haupapa, Pukuatua, Hinemoa and Eruera Sts.

On the remaining parts of those streets parking would cost $1 an hour, for up to three hours.

To encourage more use of the Pukuatua St carpark building, it would have no time limits and parking would also cost $1 per hour, or a maximum of $4 per day for casual parkers and $2 per day for concessionholders.

The city's parking trial began before Christmas 2013 when two-hour free parking was first introduced.

Adjustments were made a year later when a mix of 90 and 60-minute free parking was trialled, along with other paid and limited-time parking arrangements.

Block champion and inner-city retailer Ron Finn said businesses had the chance to observe different options over time, and to talk to other retailers and their customers about what worked for them.

The recommended changes to parking will go out for consultation.
The recommended changes to parking will go out for consultation.

"We've also had a good look at parking sensor data for the central part of the inner city and it shows the vast majority of vehicles stop for less than 60 minutes. It seems pretty logical to now set 60 minutes as the maximum period for free parking in those locations. That will ensure a good turnover of cars in parking spaces in our busiest part of the inner city.

"However, we also know some people want the option of parking for longer periods so they can go to the likes of movies, hairdressers and restaurants, hence our recommendation to allow parking for up to three hours just a short walk from Tutanekai St," he said.

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The consultation period ends on October 2. Feedback will then be compiled and a report will go to the council's strategy, policy and finance committee for consideration, with a final decision expected to be made by the council in time for implementation before Christmas.

•From Monday you can view the proposed parking changes and give your views at the Inner City Ideas Store in Hinemoa St. The store is open from 10am to 3pm on weekdays and 11am to 2pm on Saturdays. The parking map can also be viewed and feedback given at www.rotorualakescouncil.nz

What do retailers think of the proposed new parking plan?

The $1 an hour paid parking would benefit us as a business because most movies are longer than the free hour-and-a-half that is available now.

Simon Reilly

The Wall and Basement Cinemas owner, Hinemoa St

Rotorua has a culture of parking right outside the building you want to go into so, as a salon, having more than an hour of parking is necessary.
Beverley Wheeler
The Salon owner, Hinemoa St

I am all for the new plan, in particular keeping the free hour of parking as small businesses would struggle to thrive without it.
Adrienne Whitewood
Ahu Boutique owner, Eruera St

Parking doesn't really affect us, we're a destination-type store so people will park wherever they can and if they have to pay then they will.
Rob Smail
Bike Culture owner, Pukuatua St

The limited free parking does frustrate customers because it takes longer than an hour to eat a meal. If they can put a few coins in a meter and get three hours it would be a good thing.
Dee Mcroy
Pig & Whistle manager, Cnr Tutanekai and Haupapa Sts

I think it would be better if the time period for paid parking was shorter because we are wanting to free up spaces, not have cars sitting there for hours.
Sarah Williamson
Rotorua Secondhand Market owner, Arawa St

What do you think?

Email

, write a letter to PO Box 1442, Rotorua or text OP (message) to 021 242 4568.