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Getting parking right for Auckland

I’ve just attended the Velo-City 2014 conference in Adelaide.  One of the best speakers was Tim Papandreou, Director of Strategic Planning & Policy at the San Fransico municipal transportation agency.  Tim spoke about the range of strategies his agency is employing to achieve sustainable streets.

One of the most important tools, he says, is parking demand management to create more sustainable streets and promote alternative transport options. In SF they estimated 20% of congestion was caused by drivers looking for parking. The approach they have taken with lots of success  (SF Park) is to provide flexible parking options using smart technology to optimise existing parking resources.

There is a lot to be learnt from SF but their parking management approach is particularly relevant as Auckland Transport starts consultation on the Parking discussion document.  Feed back on the document will determine how future parking is managed in Auckland to cope with continuing growth and competing demands on public space.

This following article was first published in Ponsonby News

St Marys Bay parkingParking discussion document

Parking for cars causes one of the biggest headaches for Aucklanders particularly  in our historic inner city suburbs and  the city centre.   In Freemans Bay commuters are waking up residents from the early hours as they start circling for “free” parking. In Ponsonby residents on narrow streets are frustrated at getting infringement notices for parking on the footpath. In Herne Bay residents are feeling the downside of the successful St Marys Bay resident’s parking zone as commuters get pushed into neighbouring streets.

On the Strip the most frequent complaint is about the lack of parking. There are many more issues around price, availability and how public space on our streets is allocated to parking often to the detriment of other transport priorities.    As further development occurs (with less parking built off-street under the Unitary Plan) and the inner city population increases greater demands are going to be placed on space for parking.

The super city restructuring brought together seven legacy council systems of managing parking which created inequalities across the city and failed to resolve long-standing parking issues. For the first time a comprehensive region wide parking policy review is being undertaken by Auckland Transport. Public consultation is open until the end of June to give feedback on how the key parking issues facing Auckland should be addressed.

For the city fringe the proposed approach  applies “demand responsive pricing” for parking adjacent to businesses (using pricing to create capacity – this is how the new city centre parking zone works), the introduction of resident parking scheme (like that currently trialled in St Marys Bay) with priority given to heritage properties with no off- street parking , and paid parking for residential streets close to business, shopping, leisure or public transport.

On arterials it is proposed to prioritise public transport and cycling ahead of parking. Auckland Transport has suggested this may require replacement parking for businesses at convenient locations (as it is currently planned for Dominion Road).

Feedback on a parking discussion document will shape Auckland Transport’s parking strategy and open up the way for the roll out of resident parking zones. These zones will be a game changer for busy areas like Ponsonby Road and neighbouring suburbs where huge amounts of parking could be freed up from commuters for residents and short term visitors.

The Waitemata Local Board will be providing feedback on the discussion document. Our starting point is for effective parking management to provide residents with access to parking in inner city suburbs and to prioritise parking in town centres to support local businesses and welcome shoppers.  We will be listening to our community’s views before commenting.

There is often a perception that the problem with parking is just that there is not enough. However a look at the overall policy approach shows the current issues are really about poor and inconsistent management of our available resources. We welcome Auckland Transport tackling this challenging and at times emotive topic with community input and look forward to the implementation of solutions as soon as possible.

The parking discussion document is available on Auckland Transport’s website:  at.govt.nz

 

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