Time restrictions on parking in Auckland’s business district could be removed, and parking in downtown can become as expensive as $5 an hour if Auckland Transport’s new proposal goes ahead. The current free parking hours of between 6pm to 8am could also be reduced to just 10pm to 8am in downtown.
Currently on-street parking in the Auckland central city is managed through time restrictions that apply to individual streets. Auckland Transport plans to remove these restrictions and replace them with a single approach to parking within a new Central City Parking Zone. This zone approach is designed to support business, improve the look of city streets and attract more visitors to the CBD.
Currently, Auckland Transport spends $3.1 million every year on enforcing parking rules in the CBD, according to figures released to The Global Indian magazine. The transport unit of Auckland Council earns $8.1 million in annual revenue from parking enforcement (parking fees plus fines) from the CBD, and this revenue is likely to increase under the new scheme.
“These figures have not been calculated but we expect a small increase in revenue,” says Auckland Transport spokesperson Mark Hannan.
Auckland Transport begins public consultation on the proposal to create the new parking zone today (7 June) and runs until Sunday 1 July.
A single approach to pricing and managing car park availability would apply within the zone. All time restrictions would be removed, but a new system for parking prices would mean that the longer you stay, the more you have to pay. Paid parking would also be extended to 10pm (from 6pm) in busy entertainment areas to improve parking availability for customers.
The Central City Parking Zone will support the use of on-street parking for short stays, and encourage people who want to park for longer to use parking buildings. To cater for people who need to make a quick stop, there will be a 10 minute grace period within the zone, and for longer stays the minimum amount payable will be $1. Goods and Service Loading Zones will not be affected.
New pricing would be introduced, with two price zones and hourly parking prices varying depending on demand. This means that the price for parking will be higher in the more central, busier areas and lower in areas where there is less demand for parking.
The proposed pricing is also dovetailed into an off peak parking offer in the Victoria St and Downtown car parks of $2.50 per hour up to a maximum of $7.50. Pay and display parking prices will be reviewed periodically, and updated based on demand.
By ensuring that some car parks are always available, the need for drivers to search for car parks is reduced, which in turn reduces congestion. A zone approach also significantly reduces the amount of signage required, which improves the streetscape, frees up footpath space and reduces maintenance costs.
Auckland Transport’s Parking Operations Manager, Trevor Starr says: “Currently a number of different prices and time restrictions exist within the city centre, ranging from 50 cents to $4.00 per hour and time limits of between 30 and 240 minutes. These time restrictions and prices have been in place since 2006 and no longer reflect the activity and parking needs of a rapidly growing Auckland population.
“Many other cities across New Zealand and around the world are moving away from time restrictions for pay and display parking, instead relying on prices to manage demand and encourage short-term parking.
We have run a number of parking zone trials in the Viaduct, Wynyard Quarter, Parnell and Graham and Hardinge Streets with very positive results. In the Viaduct the hours of pay and display were also extended until 10pm, which has improved the amount of parking available for visitor use.”
Heart of the City Chief Executive, Alex Swney says: “Parking is a huge issue for us and this proposal represents a significant shift in thinking about the way parking can be managed by making it simpler and easier to use our city centre. We know that free parking isn’t the answer but this proposal goes a long way to responding to our concerns and we are looking forward to hearing from our Heart of the City businesses about what they think.”
Mr Starr says the proposed initiatives have a number of benefits which include increased availability of on-street parking, flexibility in length of stay and payment options, a clear and consistent on-street parking scheme within the city centre and a more pleasant streetscape with fewer signs and lower maintenance costs.