Airport to rearrange car parking ramps

TOM HUNT
Last updated 05:00 25/06/2014

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Wellington

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Wellington Airport is reworking its car parking area, less than a year after spending $5 million on an overhaul that has been panned as a "horror show".

Last year's overhaul increased parking capacity from 2000 to 2300, but airport spokesman Greg Thomas conceded that people sometimes had trouble finding a space, despite the fact the car park is "never 100 per cent full".

When people drove to the top parking deck - nearest the terminal - they had trouble getting back down, then out to the south end of the car park, which was never full, he said.

The airport planned to make one of the existing up-ramps to the top deck a down-ramp so people could more easily get down to the southern end.

It also planned to open an extra lane on the north-end up-ramp.

New, non-electronic signs were being put up to direct people to where there were more parks. The cost of the work was "not major at all", Thomas said.

The airport had received fewer than 10 formal queries or complaints about parking in the past three months, he said.

But when The Dominion Post interviewed motorists after they had found a park yesterday, most felt last year's overhaul had not improved parking.

Verna Lacey, of Eastbourne, said parking and getting help finding a park were "a horror show". "I have been driving round and round and round. There's not a soul to ask anything."

Steve Costley, of Upper Hutt, said parking was "no better" now than it was before last year's expansion. He had always found a park but "sometimes it takes a long time".

Cameron Lee, of Waikanae, who flew to Auckland weekly, said parking was getting increasingly difficult to find. He believed the increase was partly to do with an improving economy in Wellington, meaning more people were commuting from the capital.

But Loretta Desourdy, of Wadestown, believed parking at the airport had improved since last year.

Thomas said the airport catered for about 8000 vehicles a day and the new system had worked on improving congestion. As numbers rose in coming years, it was considering options for a multi-level car park. It already had a "parking team" of up to six people at peak times to help drivers find a park, and a kiosk where people could get help.

Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean said no problems with parking had been raised with the council, which had a one-third share in the airport.

Likewise, Wellington Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Raewyn Bleakley said she had not heard of any issues.

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- The Dominion Post

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