Cut in the looms of Auckland public parking spaces

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Auckland

Short-term parking in the CBD is expected to become more expensive, with the expected loss of half of Auckland Transport’s subsidized parking spaces.

On-street parking in central Auckland has been cut by more than half, and plans to keep some short-term parking lots subsidized by the city council in the redevelopment of the city center parking lot are also in question.

The issue highlights tensions between a council that seeks to promote public transport and make the CBD pedestrian and bike-friendly, and the city’s businesses wanting to preserve easy access for shoppers and diners.

The council-owned downtown parking lot has 1,148 short-term parks, but its redevelopment is planned with the intention of selling it and turning its lower floors into a bus station with a new building at the top.

Auckland Transport’s plan presented to the council’s planning committee calls for retaining between 400 and 600 of the cheapest occasional parking spaces, which it says are intended to support the economic and cultural dynamism of the city center.

However, some councilors are concerned that maintaining short-term parking will run counter to council’s commitment to move away from supporting private vehicles.

Planning documents such as the City Center Masterplan’s Access 4 Everyone transport strategy call for limits on motorized traffic in the CBD and a transition to walking, cycling and public transport.

“My personal view is that maintaining parking spaces for single occupant vehicles, even if it is for a short stay, is incompatible with the Masterplan and Access 4 Everyone,” said Councilor Chris Darby, chair of the committee. planning who heard Auckland Transport’s proposal.

Darby says he finds it hard to see the case for the council offering discounted parking in the CBD when many private companies are already doing so.

“It comes at a cost to Aucklanders,” he said. “Strategically, it is incompatible with these planning documents.”

Waitematā advisor Pippa Coom says she wants to see more information from Auckland Transport showing exactly how her plan matches the board’s emissions targets and budget.

“It’s not about preventing people from entering the city,” she said.

“The question is: is it in the interest of the taxpayer to subsidize parking on prime real estate? “

The proposal is the latest in a long period of council-backed parking abandonment in the CBD.

Auckland Transport’s downtown on-street parking has grown from 5,000 to 2,460 spaces over the past decade. Meanwhile, the price of longer-term suburban parking has more than doubled over this period to a high of $ 40 per day.

In a statement to Newsroom, Auckland Transport said the loss of downtown parking space would not have a huge impact on businesses.

“AT is not the main provider of car parks in central Auckland. Currently the Downtown car park has 1944 spaces…. less than 4% of city parking.

However, the Heart of the City Downtown Business Association says the loss of Auckland Transport’s cheaper parking spots could result in a loss for local businesses as shoppers choose to go elsewhere.

“These parks are vital for people who come to shop and have fun,” said Heart of the City Executive Director Viv Beck. “It’s more affordable and it makes the place more accessible. Not everyone has access to public transport yet.

Auckland Transport data shows that most people use short-term parking in the city for business, shopping and entertainment. A recent survey suggests that 75 percent of people parked in the downtown building during off-peak hours were there for entertainment, dining, or shopping.

However, Auckland Transport’s advice suggests that maintaining short-term parking in the building will also continue to attract cars to the area, going against the council’s plans to encourage people to use public transport. common.

The loss of parking lots in the downtown building, along with the removal of on-street parking in favor of walking and cycling, will likely result in higher overall costs for people driving in the downtown area. While some shifts to public transport are likely, Auckland Transport says there is also a risk that people will choose to go elsewhere for shopping and entertainment.

However Coom is not convinced.

“They have to be upfront about what they want,” she said. “If they want income from parking, they have to say it instead of hiding behind it, talk about the commercial and cultural dynamism of the city center. “

Another option is to leave the parking lot to the developer who decides to buy the site. This is the option preferred by Coom and Darby.

“Nothing prevents the successful tenderer from providing parking if necessary,” says Darby.

Although a decision has yet to be made, Darby doubts the board will force the successful bidder to provide short-term parking as part of a potential deal. Instead, he expects to ask the company to provide parking, micro-freight and cycling infrastructure.

The matter could be settled at a meeting of the planning committee in June.



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