Parking charge on the way out
Friday night parking charges, a hangover from the days of late night shopping in Palmerston North, are on the way out.
Largely ignored by motorists already, the requirement to feed the meters until 9pm on Fridays is not enforced, and free parking is about to become official.
The city council is expected to endorse the decision at the end of the month. It will make changes to the parking meter screens to remove Friday night charging.
Transportation planner Sandi Morris said the charges were not enforced after parking wardens clocked off at 5.30pm.
People put about $3500 a year into the meters on Friday nights, but if everyone paid, about $100,000 a year would be collected.
And the sensor parking software, which monitors when a car has parked, whether the bay is paid for, and whether the vehicle has gone over its time limit, is also switched off at 5.30pm.
Cr Bruce Wilson said he was appalled to hear that the sensors stopped working so early.
It meant anyone could park anywhere for as long as they liked, including on mobility parks, with no chance they would get a ticket.
Ms Morris said that after 5.30pm each day the only way someone would get an infringement would be if a member of the public alerted the police to a safety issue and they had resources available to deal with it.
The software did not operate on Sundays either, and the two-hour time limit on central city parking was not enforced.
Likewise, use of mobility parks, already the subject of a deputation to council and a workshop next week, was not monitored on Sundays.
‘‘That’s a very unfortunate position,’’ said Cr Wilson, who questioned whether mobility cards were any use at all after 5.30pm, and whether people who had one expected to find a mobility park after hours with the same ease as they did during the day.
‘‘We don’t have a clue, because we turn the damn things off.’’
He and mayor Jono Naylor said the changes that were being made on Friday nights must not prevent the council instigating spot checks of parking abuses, such as able-bodied people using mobility parks, if it decided to take that action.
Cr Susan Baty wanted the changes to be put on hold until the council had carried out a comprehensive review of its parking management plan.
‘‘There are so many other parking issues, about mobility cards, Broadway, hours of operation... I see no urgency to address this issue on its own, when we might want to make more changes later.’’
The recommendation to stop Friday night charges was passed 11-4 and needs to be adopted by the full council on September 26 before the change is made official.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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