Park-and-ride crack­down

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - GED CANN

Users of free coun­cil park-and-rides will soon find them­selves clamped or towed if they park il­le­gally or don’t trans­fer on to pub­lic trans­port, as the Greater Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil (GWRC) cracks down on abusers.

The new mea­sures are just a start, with sus­tain­able trans­port com­mit­tee chair­woman Bar­bara Don­ald­son say­ing charges and swipe-in ac­cess gates for park-and-rides were likely within five years.

Un­til now the coun­cil re­lied largely on trust, but Don­ald­son said de­mand was be­com­ing so great, and bad be­hav­iour so com­mon, that new mon­i­tor­ing was needed.

‘‘Peo­ple are park­ing il­le­gally and dan­ger­ously on berms, and the worst thing is when they park and pre­vent peo­ple get­ting out of the carpark,’’ she said.

The of­fend­ing had led to buses be­ing un­able to ac­cess sta­tions in re­cent times, Don­ald­son said.

‘‘The main thing is we need to make sure they are be­ing used by ac­tual com­muters.’’

Charg­ing for park-and-rides was al­ready listed as a pri­or­ity on the Re­gional Land Trans­port Plan, which will be con­firmed by the Re­gional Trans­port Com­mit­tee at its next meet­ing on June 19.

‘‘They are all at ca­pac­ity now so we need to start look­ing at what we can do, be­cause peo­ple say you [the coun­cil] are sub­si­dis­ing peo­ple to drive their cars and you’re not be­ing fair.’’

‘‘When we ac­tu­ally have fully in­te­grated tick­et­ing we might be able to in­clud­ing park­ing at park-and-rides in the tick­ets.’’

GWRC rail as­set team leader Barry Fryer said signs warn­ing of the new en­force­ment mea­sures had been erected at some park-and-rides al­ready, and by the end of Mon­day the 13 worst of­fend­ing sta­tions were to be covered, in­clud­ing Porirua, Pe­tone, Water­loo, Pare­mata, John­sonville, Red­wood, Melling and Waikanae. The rest would fol­low in early July.

Fryer said once the warn­ing signs were up coun­cil was legally al­lowed to start en­force­ment. How­ever, most mo­torists would have about a month to ad­just af­ter the signs went up, with warn­ings left on of­fend­ing ve­hi­cles, but no fines or con­se­quences yet.

Those cre­at­ing se­ri­ous haz­ards or dis­rup­tion would find their ve­hi­cles towed im­me­di­ately.

Com­plaints were now com­ing in on av­er­age once per day, with driv­ers be­ing blocked in or dangerous park­ing the most com­mon rea­sons, Fryer said.

‘‘I’ve cer­tainly had nu­mer­ous cus­tomers on the phone to me quite up­set they can’t go and pick up the kids from school be­cause some­one has parked be­hind them.’’

Fryer said sur­veys of park-and-ride users re­vealed a large per­cent­age drove to the sta­tion when they could eas­ily walk or cy­cle the dis­tance.

He said a charge would dis­suade many lo­cal users from us­ing park­ing spa­ces. It was too early to put a figure on how parkand-rides would be priced, but charges would likely sit in the $1-$5 range.

Charg­ing for park-and-rides could be seen as counter-pro­duc­tive to the coun­cil’s en­cour­age­ment of com­muters us­ing pub­lic trans­port, but Fryer said charges would of­fer a new tool to man­age ev­er­in­creas­ing de­mand.

‘‘The main driver is ac­tu­ally putting some con­trol into car parks rather than it be­ing a free-for-all.’’

GWRC

Some ex­am­ples of dodgy park­ing at coun­cil park-and-rides around the Welling­ton re­gion.

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