Protest action planned over parking

TESSA JOHNSTONE AND PAUL EASTON
Last updated 12:50 28/02/2014
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A bikers' lobby group says motorcyclists are being squeezed out of the city, and are warning of protest action if it does not get sorted.

Yesterday Parkwise wardens ticketed bikes parked on the footpath on Boulcott St near the Telecom building.

Willis St worker David Jensen said a Parkwise warden began issuing tickets about lunchtime.

Mr Jensen said it was the first time he had parked there, but he had noticed others parking on the wide footpath since at least 2009.

About 30 bikes were there yesterday.

The parking warden told him it was illegal to park on the footpath.

''How they could be an obstruction boggles my mind, but I asked him, ''Don't you think you should give them a warning first?' He said, 'The infringement notice is the warning'.''

Mr Jensen said he would be making a complaint to the council and had encouraged other motorcyclists ticketed on Boulcott St yesterday to do the same.

''I'm just a normal guy, sick of the bullshit.''

He said there was little parking available for motorcyclists and the demand far outweighed what was offered by Wellington City Council.

Wellington City Council spokesman Clayton Anderson said it had been getting complaints about the bikes parking on Boulcott St for months.

''Yesterday wasn't a one off. We have been issuing warning tickets to people who park there, the last was 14 November 14.

"On November 22 we pamphletted motorcycles in the area around 80 Boulcott street following another complaint.

"Yesterday it wasn't just one complaint, we received two from different members of the public.''

Wellington vice- president of the Bikers' Rights Organisation of New Zealand, Brent Hutchison said he understood that bikes were not technically allowed to park on the Boulcott St site, as it was a footpath.

However the council should consider making the area a motorcycle park, he said.

Motorbike parks were being taken out of the city ''by stealth'' he said.

The latest example was on the corner of Taranaki and Dixon St, where the former site of the vertical bungy jump had been turned into a motorbike park.

Part of that space had now been leased to a food stall operator.

Mr Anderson said there were the same number of motorcycle parks now as there were in 2011, at around 600.

The food stall operator had been told to keep within his space, equivalent to one car park.

In 2011, the council moved to place time limits on motorcycle parking and proposed that parking fees should not, in principle, be excluded from future parking management regulations.

However the plans were shelved after opposition from biking groups, which included 50 leather-clad bikers turing up to a council meeting.

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Mr Hutchison said further protest action could not be ruled out if the parking issues was not sorted.

''And we won't be as polite as we have been in the past.''

Mr Hutchison organised the 2009 "bikoi" - a protest ride to Wellington by more than 6500 riders over an increase in ACC levies.

Councillor Andy Foster said he was in discussion with motorcycling advocates about the numbers of parks available in central Wellington.

''There are more motorbikes than spaces on the street, but there's plenty of motorbike parking in private parking buildings.''

Foster said he was discussing with motorcycling advocates the number of parks available in central Wellington.

Talk of any protest action seemed ''rather quick'' he said.

"There are more motorbikes than spaces on the street, but there's plenty of motorbike parking in private buildings.''

- The Dominion Post

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