It was a close-run thing, but Auckland Councillors voted 13-10 to go out for public consultation on Council’s controversial parking strategy. That process is now underway.
The strategy is designed to help cope with road network challenges around growth, climate change, and safety, enabling a shift towards more sustainable modes of transport. It proposes charges for park and rides and the removal of some on-street parking, particularly in the city centre.
Hibiscus Coast Highway appears to be the only road on the Coast affected by the proposal to remove parking on main arterials. Although this is a draft only, Cr John Watson says potentially the changes on Hibiscus Coast Highway could help traffic flow, benefit commuters and reduce emissions. He says the devil could be in the detail, once a final version of the strategy is produced.
However, he says charging at Auckland’s park and rides – including ferry facilities – is the wrong move, as it could put people off public transport and back into their cars.
Auckland Transport (AT) has told the paper in the past that park and rides further from the city centre, such as the one at Silverdale, and without a strong feeder bus service, would be low on the priority list for the introduction of any parking charges.
“AT is well aware that many users of park and rides drive significant distances to access public transport especially up our way – they have no other choice and that includes students and others on limited incomes,” Cr Watson says.
At the Council meeting Cr Watson gave the example of a commuter from Army Bay or Gulf Harbour who could take 25 minutes to drive to the Hibiscus Coast Bus station, when it might take 60 minutes in a bus (once walk, wait and travel time is thrown in).
Park and rides have been an outstanding success, including on the Coast, in getting people out of their cars and into public transport for most of their trip and he says it’s really important that residents have their say.
Submissions opened last week (April 13) and close on May 15.
Info and submissions: https://at.govt.nz/parkingstrategy