Parking system 'too complicated'

JONO GALUSZKA AND LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 08:00 10/11/2012

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A Palmerston North business owner behind a petition against the city's parking system says people just want to feel like they are being listened to.

The Frog Parking system, which has been in place since mid-last year, has been the subject of criticism as people feel it is too complicated to use.

Business owners have described it as "extortionist" and claimed it forces shoppers away from the streets and to either The Plaza or Feilding.

Spectra Hair owner Gabrielle Bundy-Cooke said George St business owners and those through the central business district were collecting signatures to present to the council.

Public pressure was mounting and something had to be done, she said. "Every day there is more and more focus about it. People are really talking about it and are more focused than ever."

The idea from the petition came from a meeting between business owners and some city councillors.

Mrs Bundy-Cooke said the petition was a way to tell the council that people felt like they were being ignored.

Any review of the system should involve businesses, she said.

"No-one has come and said ‘you are part of Palmerston North, what can we do to help you be successful in this city'."

The petition was likely to be collected late next week and handed to the council soon after.

Mayor Jono Naylor said the council was looking to review the parking strategy by the end of the year. He was aware of the petition and welcomed feedback from business owners.

"It's certainly something we're going to be taking a closer look at over the next few weeks to see if there are other ways we can implement a system to ensure all parties are comfortable with what's happening."

With new systems, it takes time to figure out what are teething issues and what are ongoing problems, he said.

"Look, we're well aware that there have been parking issues over some periods of time . . . once we've got a good handle on the issues, we'll start looking at solutions."

The council is in an "information gathering phase" identifying the main components being encountered, which includes the enforcement regime, time restrictions and charges.

In terms of the public's opinion, Mr Naylor said it was too early to say if submissions would be received, but was hopeful the issues would be ironed out in time for people to begin their Christmas shopping in town.

There were variances in what businesses were asking for, Mr Naylor said. "It's often not uniform what businesses are hoping to achieve . . .there's a lot of factors to consider."

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- Manawatu Standard

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