Parking scarce along town’s main street
Tourism is shuffling more visitors into Matamata but it’s also prompted competition for car parking between tourists, shoppers, business owners and workers.
Community leaders aware of the problem say, however, that drivers need to change their habits and learn to park outside of town where it’s just a few hundreds metres to the centre.
Steve Wright from Empire Antiques on Broadway, believed there needed to be more parking options for those working in Matamata’s CBD.
‘‘Visitors come in to town, get what they want and then leave. But you look at the side streets and they’re full with workers’ cars, they need somewhere to park outside [of the CBD].’’
Parking outside the post office was a problem too.
‘‘People visiting, they need to have room to park outside where they want to go.’’
Wright suggested timed parking in the busiest parts of town but said he did not think parking meters or parking wardens were the answer.
Also on Broadway, Workmans Cafe and Bar manager Das Harpreet Singh said lunch time and evenings were the worst time to find a park outside his shop.
‘‘At lunch, most of the car parks are gone. Most people looking for somewhere to have lunch want to park next to [the shop].
‘‘There are lots of parks further down the road but people don’t seem to want to walk the 100 or 200 metres back.’’
Broadway’s Matamata SPCA op shop manager Lee Wood agreed lunch time was a problem when people came into town looking for somewhere to eat.
Outside the shop is a park for disabled people and next to the building is a driveway leading to the rear. Both the disabled parking spot and the driveway entrance were often used by drivers seeking a temporary park to deliver goods or have lunch at nearby eateries.
Wood hoped maybe the council could look at more parking options for the town’s busy centre.
Matamata Public Relations Association manager Sue Whiting said there was plenty of parking away from the town centre, on Arawa and Tainui streets.
‘‘But some people chose to park close to the town centre instead.’’
Whiting said parking, whether it be for visitors of those working in town, was a subject the association had discussed many times.
‘‘We are a close-knit designed town and I can’t see how we can fix that, maybe it is something we have to accept.’’
Matamata ward councillor Brian Hunter said the centre of town had become much busier.
‘‘We moved here about 40 years ago and on a Sunday you could go into town and no one would be there. Now, on a Sunday it’s busy, just like any other day of the week.’’
Hunter agreed with Whiting, that there was plenty of parking and maybe it was a case of educating people where the spaces were.
‘‘We’re lucky because we’ve got so many visitors coming into town and that’s a plus. But it also creates a parking problem.
‘‘Like everywhere else in New Zealand, people seem to want to park outside the shop where they want to go, and if only they could park a few streets away, it would relieve pressure.’’
Matamata SPCA op shop manager Lee Wood says competition for parking prompts some motorists to use the disabled car park outside the shop.