Park­ing woes af­ter 380 more staff ar­rive

Waikato Times - - News - Ruby Nyika ruby.nyika@stuff.co.nz

A clus­ter of res­i­den­tial Hamil­ton streets are be­ing clogged by parked cars due to hun­dreds of IRD staff mov­ing into a new of­fice nearby.

Dur­ing of­fice hours, drive­ways are blocked, cars are bumper-to-bumper or some­times parked along yel­low lines, St An­drews res­i­dent Tracy Ge­orge says.

IRD is aware of res­i­dents’ con­cerns, but says the prob­lem stems from the way staff are park­ing, not a lack of park­ing.

The move hap­pened in Oc­to­ber, when 380 Hamil­ton staff shifted to a new build­ing in Te Rapa Home Straight.

That’s when the prob­lem started, Ge­orge, who lives with her three-year-old daugh­ter Talia Born­man, said.

She’s wor­ried it’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore a child or an­i­mals get hurt.

The in­flux of staff has turned Cot­ton Street – which leads right up to the new build­ing – into a one-way street, she said.

‘‘We feel like we’re be­ing held to seige, re­ally,’’ she said.

Curb-side park­ing ends up so full that re­cy­cling trucks have to park in the mid­dle of the road, she said.

‘‘We were hav­ing to drive with one wheel on the is­land to ac­tu­ally get down our street. I [drive] down slowly be­cause I’m just wait­ing for an ac­ci­dent to hap­pen.

‘‘We feel like our nice quiet area has just been ru­ined.’’

IRD deputy com­mis­sioner Tony Mor­ris said IRD is aware of res­i­dents’ con­cerns. Free park­ing isn’t avail­able at the Hamil­ton of­fice, he said.

‘‘There isn’t a lack of park­ing in the area – the is­sue is how peo­ple are park­ing. We are ad­dress­ing that.’’

Staff have been talked to about re­spon­si­ble park­ing, Mor­ris said.

Staff have been told to in­clude park­ing six me­tres away from in­ter­sec­tions and one me­tre away from drive­ways. They’ve also been asked to not park on grass berms, foot­paths, ‘no stop­ping’ ar­eas or in re­stricted ar­eas all day.

‘‘We’ve also, just to­day, re­in­forced those mes­sages with some ad­vice from the Hamil­ton City Coun­cil.’’

IRD will meet with Coun­cil early next year to dis­cuss al­ter­na­tives to driv­ing cars to work, such as a new bus ser­vice.

Coun­cil’s park­ing en­force­ment team has re­ceived 13 re­quests to in­ves­ti­gate park­ing in the area since Au­gust. Those com­plaints were about driv­ers park­ing on verges, par­tially block­ing drive­ways, no on street park­ing for res­i­dents and com­pro­mis­ing safety, city trans­porta­tion unit man­ager Robyn Den­ton said.

Hamil­ton City Deputy Mayor Martin Gal­lagher said he’s been con­tacted by wor­ried res­i­dents. He un­der­stood some res­i­dents’ drive­ways had been par­tially blocked by parked cars.

It’s a ‘‘po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous’’ prob­lem has crept up over time, he said, but might have been ex­ac­er­bated by the re­cent IRD of­fice move.

‘‘I do, per­son­ally, to­tally em­pathise with res­i­dents out there. There are a clus­ter of streets there who are hav­ing their streets clogged up all day with peo­ple who work in the Te Rapa area.

‘‘I ac­knowl­edge there may not be an im­me­di­ate quick fix ... We do need to ur­gently re­view it, in my view.’’

Coun­cil­lor Mark Bunting, who runs Ac­cess Hamil­ton and Park­ing task­forces, said it’s part of a wider is­sue for com­mer­cial zones.

‘‘Growth was this is­sue of this term. Con­ges­tion is go­ing to be the is­sue of the next cou­ple of terms, I reckon. If [peo­ple] are not try­ing to park across a street, they’re try­ing to squish across our bridges.

‘‘We have to do some­thing rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent. We can’t keep do­ing the same thing.’’

Res­i­dent Tracy Ge­orge, with her three-year-old daugh­ter Talia Born­man, said Cot­ton Street has turned into a one-way street since new IRD staff moved to Te Rapa.

IRD says it is aware of res­i­dents’ con­cerns and has ad­vised staff of how to park re­spon­si­bly.

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