Can changes to parking make for a more liveable city?
Auckland Transport's draft parking discussion document outlines plans to discourage commuter parking, adopt more paid parking in town centres and phase out parking on some arterial roads.
Ditching earlybird parking in Auckland Transport car parks could free space for people nipping to the shops or heading to a meeting, inner-city business associations say.
Heart of the City chief executive Alex Swney says his organisation supports the proposal.
A lot of council-owned off-street car park space is long-term commuter parking at a daily rate of less than $1.50 an hour, he says.
"In effect it is saying: ‘Get in your car and add to the congestion'. Many still think parking in the city should be free.
"Even diehards of this position will change their mind when they find that the limited parking stock we have is taken up by the first car into the carpark on any given day."
Auckland Transport proposes adjusting on-street parking prices depending on the level of demand. This means in some areas parking prices could go either up or down.
Karangahape Rd Business Association manager Barbara Holloway is all for it.
The downtown parking payment system where prices are hiked up after the second hour is working well, she says.
"You pay more the longer you stay and that means for people like me who want to pop in for half an hour and do something, there actually started being some space."
This benefits bars and restaurants which previously suffered from a lack of parking because of residents and visitors parking all night after 6pm, she says.
ROOM FOR BUSES
The planned roll-out of double-decker buses on selected arterial roads will require the phasing out of on-street parking between metropolitan and town centres.
Auckland Transport suggests replacing this street parking with alternative site specific parking options. Dominion Rd business association manager Gary Holmes says it would not be justified in his area.
"Public transport is frequent and well-used during peak hours, but during the rest of the day there's not that many people travelling on buses along there."
Auckland Transport is already proposing to remove some car parks from side roads as part of the Dominion Rd upgrades, he says.
"Parking is the lifeblood for any retail shop. The further people have to walk, the less likely they are to stop.
"You can understand it on some arterial roads where there's no shops but not in a village like Dominion Rd."
Mondo Travel Mt Eden managing director Chris Hammonds agrees.
"It'd just force people to go to St Lukes which would be a great shame for this retail strip."
The availability of parking is being slowly eroded in the area, he says.
"I'm disappointed because we've been working on this issue for years. We realise public transport is here to stay and we agreed to remove a few car parks so buses could run along the road but it seems like the left hand and right hand aren't talking."
PAY IN TOWN CENTRES
Popping to the shops to pick up a few things for dinner? If you don't already pay for parking in your main street, you might have to in future.
Auckland Transport is proposing to introduce parking charges in metropolitan areas and town centres where demand is high.
Ellerslie Business Association town centre manager Sally Eustace does not support the idea.
"I'd be absolutely against any sort of paid parking but if it's forced upon us I believe some of that parking fee should go back into our community."
The 30-minute parking zone on Ellerslie Main Highway works well and if shoppers need longer there are car parks with a two or three-hour time limit, she says.
A bigger issue is the people who park in residential streets and take the train into the city.
She would like to see a park and ride facility near the train station.
Ellerslie Residents Association chairman Bryan Johnson agrees.
"The residents who live close to the town centre are annoyed that their streets fill up with people who park all day because it means visitors can't park close by," he says.
A two-hour limit on residential streets within 100 to 200 metres of the shopping centre may be the solution, Johnson says.
Eustace suggests Auckland Transport provide a secure, weather-proof lock-up for bikes at the train station to encourage people to cycle rather than drive to Ellerslie.
St Heliers Bay Village Association Mainstreet manager Wendy Caspersonn says time restrictions work well in the area because they are closely monitored by parking officers.
"[Paid parking] would be the death of the village. People would just go to Eastridge Shopping Centre or Sylvia Park where parking is free. As a village you think it's friendly, easy and inviting. It would just go against the grain."
- Auckland City Harbour News
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