ARC looks to restrict parking
Cycling and walking advocates are praising plans to limit parking spaces in the city.
A new draft parking strategy by the Auckland Regional Council gives priority to short-stay parking and closely manages parking available in high-density residential areas and city centres.
Regional council transport and urban development committee chairwoman Christine Rose says it will be the first consistent, region-wide approach to parking.
Until now, parking has been managed on a council-by-council basis with little regard for the overall transport, economic and environmental goals.
“It will finally be a level playing field,” she says.
Ms Rose says continuing to increase the amount of parking to match the increase in commuter traffic is not sustainable.
“Abundant parking encourages people to drive, usually alone.”
The parking strategy will work in conjunction with developing other transport choices, with public transport, walking and cycling as priorities.
But Ms Rose says people should not feel threatened by the new strategy or expect changes overnight.
“It is a long-term strategy so I doubt there will be immediate changes.
“It’s all about finding the right balance,” she says.
Walk Auckland chairman Andy Smith says he loves the idea.
“We totally support everything they’re doing here.”
“It’s about time we realised roads are not carparks.”
Mr Smith says employees could be offered a yearly rail or bus pass instead of parking in their contract.
Cycle Action chairman Bevan Woodward also supports the proposal but says there are areas that could be strengthened.
He says instead of concentrating on public parking facilities the plan should include private company-supplied parking, which is often a major factor in people choosing to drive to work.
Laura Bathurst who works in Ponsonby says for her all-day parking on the street is an “absolute necessity”.
Miss Bathurst travels from West Harbour to work and says there are no direct buses into Ponsonby and to transfer at Britomart would take “far too long”.
She says bus services to areas such as Ponsonby and Newmarket would need to be greatly improved before parking is taken away.
“There are already so many pay and display parks that charge a fortune.”
The public will be able to send in feedback on the strategy until July 4, after which Ms Rose says hearings will be held for those with interests and concerns.
Parking plan: Bevan Woodward says reducing parking and getting people on their bikes is a great idea.