Shops oppose paid parking
THE AUCKLAND City Council will have a fight on its hands if plans to extend pay and display parking hours go through, say Ponsonby businesses.
The proposal, up for public consultation, intends to “give a helping hand” to businesses by extending the paid parking hours from 6pm to 10pm but could end up having the opposite effect.
Initially the plan appeared to be aimed only at the central city but a confidential council report made available to the public suggests it may be extended to Ponsonby, Parnell and Newmarket.
A question in the online consultation form asks people if they would like to see pay and display hours extended in areas outside of the central city.
Ponsonby Business Association general manager Justin Bade says the idea is “ludicrous”. “It’s a joke,” he says. “They’d have a pretty big fight on their hands.”
According to the report presented to the council’s transport committee, the move is meant to benefit business owners by freeing up parking spaces in the evenings for visitors to the city rather than them being taken up by residents in the area.
Residents would instead be encouraged to use off-street carparks and parking buildings.
Owner of Bliss cafe in Ponsonby Liesje Feterika says it would be unfair to steal carparks away from local residents.
“If you’ve paid to live in an area like this you deserve to have a carpark,” she says.
“It’s our local clientele that gives us business, I’d prefer them to come home stress-free.”
The proposal would mainly affect businesses around the Three Lamps area of Ponsonby, where the bulk of pay and display parking is situated.
Turkish cafe manager Habib Taib says he would be concerned the longer pay and display hours would force customers away.
“Lots of people come because of the free parking after six,” he says.
“They’ll go somewhere else and have their dinner.”
Councillor Mark Donnelly says it is a “straight money grab”.
The transport committee estimates that with no change in car- parking occupancy, an additional $1.56 million for the central city and $1.95m throughout the whole of Auckland city will be generated within the first year.
It also estimates a cost of $544,000 to change display signs and re-programme parking machines.
Newmarket Business Association and Parnell Inc representatives have also voiced their strong opposition to the extended hours.
Committee chairman Ken Baguley has assured them public feedback will be listened to. “If there is such a massive opinion against it, we won’t be doing it,” he says.