Parking Discussion Document: Auckland Transport Seeks Feedback

Discussion Paper released

Auckland Transport is seeking public feedback on a discussion paper (“Auckland Transport Draft Discussion Document”) which proposes to overhaul the city’s parking regime. According to Auckland Transport, parking should be used as an important tool to improve the transport network’s efficiency. However, it claims that Auckland’s present parking policies are ineffective, and are giving rise to conflict between residents, commuters and businesses over limited parking spaces in the CBD and surrounding suburbs. The submissions received will contribute to the development of a Parking Strategy for Auckland, which will be included in the next Integrated Transport Programme (due for completion in mid-2015).

Key issues

The discussion paper identifies the following as key issues for Auckland:

  • demand for parking in the CBD and smaller town centres;
  • competing demand for parking in residential streets;
  • managing off-street parking facilities;
  • the use (and shortage) of ‘Park and Rides’;
  • managing demand for parking permits between competing users;
  • inconsistent on-street parking restrictions across Auckland;
  • managing projected increases in congestion; and
  • improving public transportation.

Proposed solutions

Auckland Transport seeks to achieve a fair balance between the needs of various road users, and to set “a clear and consistent direction for Auckland’s parking in the future” as the city continues to expand. Accordingly, Auckland Transport is seeking public responses to the following suggestions:

  • Managing demand for parking in the city centre, metropolitan and town centres: Auckland Transport proposes to accept a target ‘peak parking occupancy’ of 85%, being the internationally accepted standard. This means that most parking spaces in centres are utilised but there are always sufficient free parks, and vehicles are never cruising the streets in search of a park, thereby adding to congestion. It also proposes to adopt a region-wide approach to timing and pricing of parking.

  • Consistent approach to managing parking in centres: Auckland Transport proposes to develop a series of Comprehensive Parking Management Plans to assess current and future parking problems in each metropolitan centre, in order to determine a more consistent approach to dealing with parking in these areas. This includes an assessment of private off-street parking.

  • Balancing competing demands for parking in residential streets: Auckland Transport currently receives many complaints regarding parking in residential streets. These particularly focus on overcrowded parking in suburbs peripheral to the CBD and in areas near high-frequency public transport stations or fare boundaries. Auckland Transport proposes to introduce residential parking zones and time restrictions in older suburbs where off-street parking is less common, giving priority to residents. It may also remove parking from one side of streets of fewer than 6.5 metres in width.

  • Managing off-street parking facilities in the city centre: Auckland Transport proposes to reduce and phase out facilities for commuter parking and use price incentives to discourage driving during peak congestion times, and encourage the use of public transport. Short-term casual parking will be prioritised over long-stay commuter parking.

  • Investing in off-street parking facilities: Auckland Transport considers that Council investment in off-street parking facilities may be justified in circumstances where the supply of on-street parking is not sufficient to meet demand despite the use of other management options (such as pricing). Auckland Transport considers central parking facilities run by private developers will result in less overall parking being required than if each business provided its own parking facilities for its customers.

  • Prioritising access to on-street parking: Given that demand for on-street parking will intensify as Auckland grows, the discussion document suggests that available parking should be allocated to the highest priority users. Emergency vehicles, mobility permit holders, public transport, cyclists, construction vehicles and loading vehicles are considered the highest priority user groups by Auckland Transport.

  • Managing parking on arterial roads: In order to create more space for buses and cyclists, Auckland Transport proposes to remove on-street parking on some arterial roads. It considers that this will improve consistency of journey times, which in turn will make public transport more reliable and attractive to commuters. In cases where a loss of arterial on-street parking with impact the economic vitality of centres, Auckland Transport proposes to consider options for alternative parking sites.

  • On-street parking restrictions and events: Currently, parking restrictions differ throughout Auckland according to how each legacy council previously applied them. The discussion paper suggests implementing a consistent region-wide policy to establish how parking restrictions should be applied. In most cases (with the exception of the annual ‘Santa Parade’), Auckland Transport will not provide free parking within its parking buildings for events. However, it proposes to work with event promoters to provide ‘included in your ticket price’ public transport to events to minimise the impact on the surrounding road networks.

  • Allocation of parking permits: Auckland Transport proposes to discontinue many parking permits (which provide an exemption from time restrictions), and instead remove time restrictions attached to parks altogether, to allow users to park for the length of time they require and pay accordingly. The discussion documents states there is a need to ensure any existing permits are allocated in a way that is fair and based on need. Auckland Transport proposes not to offer any monthly or annual permits for use in the City Centre.

  • Investment in park and ride facilities: Auckland Transport considers that an additional 10,000 park and ride spaces will be required by 2040, and proposes to conduct a site by site analysis to develop an implementation plan over the following five years. In the meantime, ‘temporary’ park and ride facilities may be established. These spaces could be leased for park and ride purposes with minimal investment.

  • Pricing of park and ride spaces: Finally, Auckland Transport proposes to introduce charges for using park and ride facilities. These are currently free of charge, which the discussion document states does not reflect their true costs. However, any charges would not be implemented until: feeder services to major park and ride stations are operating frequently; the integrated fares zonal system is operational; the AT HOP card has the ability to be used for park and ride charging; and a full business case for pricing has been undertaken to set out the methodology, costs, benefits and impact on public transport patronage.

Overall, the proposed changes are likely to result in higher costs and fewer places to park.

Have your say

Parking is crucial for the safe and efficient operation of the roading network. However, it also affects the economic development of the city, and impacts on local towns, businesses, public transport, cyclists, and residents. The proposed changes will certainly have a wide-ranging impact on most Aucklanders.

Feedback can be provided until 30 June 2014. If you would like to provide feedback on the discussion document and require assistance in preparing a submission, please contact one of ChanceryGreen’s senior team members for assistance.