Parking fees a 'revenue gathering exercise'

Feedback floods in over planned hike in costs

STEVE HOPKINS
Last updated 05:00 23/07/2012
Parking metre
FAIRFAX NZ
CASHING IN: A hike in parking fees in central Auckland attracted 718 submissions.

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More than 700 Aucklanders have had their say on a proposal to charge drivers up to $29 to park for four hours in the city including the AA who have called for widespread changes.

In June Auckland Transport  announced plans to do away with time-restricted parking, charge motorists more the longer they park and until 10pm. At present parking is mostly free after 6pm.

Under the proposal, motorists will be allowed to park in on-street car parks for free for the first 10 minutes, and then pay up to $8 an hour thereafter.

There will be two pricing zones - a central city zone, from Quay St to Mayoral Dr and between Hobson St and Albert Park and an outer city zone that would include much of Freemans Bay, Wynyard Quarter and the university precinct.

Between 8am and 6pm in the central zone, motorists would be charged $5 for the first hour and $8 an hour afterwards. Between 6pm and 10pm and at weekends it would be $2 for the first hour and $3 an hour from then on.

In the outer zone, between 8am and 6pm, the first hour of parking would cost $3 and would then increase to $5. On Saturdays parking would cost $1 an hour and Sundays would be free.

The changes would replace the city's several different price and time restriction parks.

Auckland Transport hoped zone pricing would encourage short-term stops in the city centre making spaces more available, and shift long-term parking to parking buildings.

A submission from New Zealand's biggest vehicle group, the AA, supports the formation of two pricing zones, subject to several changes being made.

It notes pricing is set to increase on 66 per cent of the city's 2800 on-street parks and decrease on 34 per cent and that the changes were expected to raise an additional $6.5 million.

''This is completely unacceptable and turns the central city parking zone into a revenue gathering exercise,'' AA Auckland Transport spokesman Simon Lambourne wrote.

He said the AA was concerned about Auckland Transport's intention to regularly review charges, which would lead to confusion.

''Price reviews should happen infrequently and certainly no more than once every few years.''

The AA did not support charging motorists to park after 10pm and asked Auckland Transport to review this, especially for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings when there was less demand.

Lambourne said if this was to happen adequate street lighting and security needed to be in place ''in order to reduce the associated crime and personal security risk''.

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He said zone borders also needed to be re-examined so that boundaries were obvious and consistent. The changes would also need to be clearly communicated to motorists.

The AA didn't support plans to retain P15 parks on Queen St, given there would be a 10-minute grace period on all parks.

Lambourne said he was further concerned by an Auckland Council announcement last week that they are considering increasing parking fees to pay for future city transport projects, ''which will be additional to these charges''.

Auckland Transport said it had received 718 submissions on the proposal before the July 1 deadline.

A spokesman for Auckland Transport said the submissions were still being analysed before results are reported to the organisations next board meeting on August 20.

He would not comment on whether more submitters were for or against the plan.

- Auckland Now

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