Getting parking right for Auckland

I’ve just attended the Velo-City 2014 conference in Adelaide.  One of the best speakers was Tim Papandreou, Director of Strategic Planning & Policy at the San Fransico municipal transportation agency.  Tim spoke about the range of strategies his agency is employing to achieve sustainable streets.

One of the most important tools, he says, is parking demand management to create more sustainable streets and promote alternative transport options. In SF they estimated 20% of congestion was caused by drivers looking for parking. The approach they have taken with lots of success  (SF Park) is to provide flexible parking options using smart technology to optimise existing parking resources.

There is a lot to be learnt from SF but their parking management approach is particularly relevant as Auckland Transport starts consultation on the Parking discussion document.  Feed back on the document will determine how future parking is managed in Auckland to cope with continuing growth and competing demands on public space.

This following article was first published in Ponsonby News

St Marys Bay parkingParking discussion document

Parking for cars causes one of the biggest headaches for Aucklanders particularly  in our historic inner city suburbs and  the city centre.   In Freemans Bay commuters are waking up residents from the early hours as they start circling for “free” parking. In Ponsonby residents on narrow streets are frustrated at getting infringement notices for parking on the footpath. In Herne Bay residents are feeling the downside of the successful St Marys Bay resident’s parking zone as commuters get pushed into neighbouring streets.

On the Strip the most frequent complaint is about the lack of parking. There are many more issues around price, availability and how public space on our streets is allocated to parking often to the detriment of other transport priorities.    As further development occurs (with less parking built off-street under the Unitary Plan) and the inner city population increases greater demands are going to be placed on space for parking.

The super city restructuring brought together seven legacy council systems of managing parking which created inequalities across the city and failed to resolve long-standing parking issues. For the first time a comprehensive region wide parking policy review is being undertaken by Auckland Transport. Public consultation is open until the end of June to give feedback on how the key parking issues facing Auckland should be addressed.

For the city fringe the proposed approach  applies “demand responsive pricing” for parking adjacent to businesses (using pricing to create capacity – this is how the new city centre parking zone works), the introduction of resident parking scheme (like that currently trialled in St Marys Bay) with priority given to heritage properties with no off- street parking , and paid parking for residential streets close to business, shopping, leisure or public transport.

On arterials it is proposed to prioritise public transport and cycling ahead of parking. Auckland Transport has suggested this may require replacement parking for businesses at convenient locations (as it is currently planned for Dominion Road).

Feedback on a parking discussion document will shape Auckland Transport’s parking strategy and open up the way for the roll out of resident parking zones. These zones will be a game changer for busy areas like Ponsonby Road and neighbouring suburbs where huge amounts of parking could be freed up from commuters for residents and short term visitors.

The Waitemata Local Board will be providing feedback on the discussion document. Our starting point is for effective parking management to provide residents with access to parking in inner city suburbs and to prioritise parking in town centres to support local businesses and welcome shoppers.  We will be listening to our community’s views before commenting.

There is often a perception that the problem with parking is just that there is not enough. However a look at the overall policy approach shows the current issues are really about poor and inconsistent management of our available resources. We welcome Auckland Transport tackling this challenging and at times emotive topic with community input and look forward to the implementation of solutions as soon as possible.

The parking discussion document is available on Auckland Transport’s website:


Residential parking policy for inner city Auckland

St mary bay parkingI gave an update on the work Auckland Transport has underway on a residential parking policy in my September board report

Parking – Residential parking in St Marys Bay

The St Marys Association has recently raised, in a letter drop, concerns about possible changes to the residents parking scheme that has been successfully trialled for the last year (and recently extended for another year). They do not want to see any moves to encourage commuter parking on residential streets and have not been reassured by the responses received from Auckland Transport..

At our monthly catch up in August Auckland Transport confirmed that a parking strategy is going to the Auckland Transport Board in September which will include residential parking principles. They then intend to consult on a residential parking policy.

My understanding is that the policy is still very much under development and that there are a number of issues the policy needs to cover such as:

  • The appropriate level of on-street parking capacity for each specific zone or suburb: The St Marys Bay trial has been such a success the average capacity is now at 50%.  The consultation needs to give residents an opportunity to respond as to what they think is appropriate in their community.  The Association has made it clear that 50% is about right for St Marys Bay. In areas closer to the city centre or with more mixed use (such as Parnell) there is likely to be greater tolerance for higher  levels of on street parking  (in the city centre the aim is to have capacity at about 75-80% which always guarantee car parking).  In areas with narrow streets and heritage homes a lower level of capacity may be more appropriate.
  • How the scheme prioritises users: The residential policy should seek to prioritise residents but there needs to be consultation on who else the on-street parking can be made available for. For example Freemans Bay and Ponsonby residents may be more receptive to local workers and business owners using the available on street capacity because there are a higher proportion of home based businesses.
  • The appropriate tools to manage the additional capacity through pricing: My understanding is that the parking team are investigating a range of options. A coupon scheme has been given as one example by AT which was strongly rejected by the Association. Through any scheme it is possible to prioritise residents and discourage commuters – it is just a matter of getting the pricing tools right.

I have also been reassured that AT is not working on a policy that seeks to apply a one size fits all scheme to distinct suburbs. There needs to be flexibility about how a residential scheme is applied. For example in Parnell there is a greater need for late night restrictions because of the visitors coming to the bars and restaurants.  Pricing may also need to vary depending on the desirable level of on street parking.

My understanding is that all these issues are going to be covered in the AT policy and it will be consulted on.  It is through the policy development that we need to ensure that St Marys Bay ends up with an appropriate scheme based on the successful trial. I also want to ensure the policy is not delayed as there is a need for effective residential parking schemes in the other central suburbs particularly Freemans Bay.

Parking issues should be reported to Auckland Transport by calling 3553553

Monthly Board Report August 2012

Waitemata Local Board member monthly report: Covering activities from 1 July – 31 July 2012

Board responsibilities:

  • Transport (West including Regional portfolio) with Greg Moyle
  • Community (including Regional portfolio) with Tricia Reade
  • Chair, Grants Committee
  • Member of the Isthmus Local Board Joint Funding Committee
  • Positions: Grey Lynn Business Association, Newmarket Business Association (alternate)

Portfolio reports


Transport Monthly transport update

The monthly Transport catch up was held with the Transport portfolio and relevant officers from Auckland Transport on 26 July. The issues discussed are reported back monthly by AT on our public agenda.

Auckland (Regional) Cycle Network

At our April meeting we referred our concern that the Regional Cycle Network (RCN) has been reported as 28% complete to the Auckland Transport Board on 21 March and the Transport Committee despite the lack of safe, continuous and connected routes particularly on “completed” parts of the network in the Waitemata Local Board area to the Transport Committee.

In July, with Christopher Dempsey, I presented to the Transport Committee on the cycling network – now named the Auckland Cycle Network. The Transport Committee responded positively by moving  (Cr C Casey, seconded Cr GS Wood) that Auckland Transport and NZTA report on the current state of the Auckland Cycle Network and the extent to which the reported 28% complete cycle network is of sufficient standard, and plans to achieve the Auckland Plan targets. I look forward to receiving this report from Auckland Transport.

St Mary’s Bay Parking Zone Trial

The Ponsonby Road Business Association have raised concerns with Board members about the impact of the new parking zone restrictions on Jervois Road businesses which came into effect on 23 July. I have provided the following response: The  St Marys Bay Parking Permit Zone is being trialled for a year to deal with the issue of all day commuter parking. From the feedback at the St Mary’s Bay Residents Association AGM (held on 26 July) and directly to Auckland Transport it would appear that a majority of residents are in favour of the zone (probably about 80% now compared with only 50% when it was first proposed). If St Marys Bay is a success we are likely to see parking zones extended to Freemans Bay and other city fringe suburbs as there is so much demand to restrict all day commuter parking in residential streets.

Businesses within the zone can apply for permits even for cars not registered at the address. Mercy hospital has been allocated a specific number of permits and St Marys College are eligible to receive 20 (although they have requested more).   Currently no one is eligible for permits from outside of the zone. This is likely to have the biggest impact on businesses close to the zone especially in heritage buildings with little or no off street parking that have been using residential streets for all day parking. Employees, tenants and business owners are going to experience a period of disruption while they adapt to the zone restrictions.  However Auckland Transport have agreed to review the eligibility of permits for those outside the zone within 3 months (rather than 1 year).  This will be after assessing the availability of space within the zone and the degree to which it is being used by short stay visitors. One of the benefits of the zone for business is that more parking will be available for customers.  There needs to be a trial to be able to establish that benefit and to assess the appropriate number of permits that should be made available .  Another potential positive for Ponsonby is that the zone results in less traffic as fewer commuters will come into the area.

I appreciate that the PBA would like action on out of zone permits to be taken sooner but I think by allowing for a period of assessment (as suggested by AT) will result in a much better outcome for the residents, businesses and visitors.


Unitary Plan community engagement

It is really positive news that the Auckland Plan Committee in early July agreed to extensive, wide-ranging community engagement prior to the release of a Unitary Plan discussion document in March 2013 (rather than stick to the orginal timetable to notify a draft plan in December). We now have an opportunity as a local board to meaningfully debate the details of the Unitary Plan with our communities and for input by key stakeholders during September and October. Many people worked behind the scenes to reach this decision by the governing body but I particularly acknowledge our hard working Unitary Plan team of Shale Chambers, Christopher Dempsey and Tricia Reade. Following this decision the community portfolio jumped at the opportunity to work on the details of our engagement plan and strategy to ensure we undertake the most effective consultation possible to achieve the best outcomes for the Unitary Plan.

Community Grants

The Community portfolio team worked with officers to finalise the details of the Board’s community grants fund application and guidelines. Details of this and the regional funding schemes went live on the Council website at the end of July. An email was sent to all our community stakeholder database to advise that Auckland Council is currently inviting applications for a range of community grants funds.

The funds applicable to the Waitemata Local Board area are:

1.   Waitemata Local Board Community Grant

2.   Waitemata Local Board Events Fund

3.   Community group assistance fund

4.   Community group accommodation support fund

5.   Auckland City Cultural Heritage Fund

The first round for the Waitemata Local Board funds closes on 17 August.

Central Joint Funding Committee

I am the Board’s representative on the Central Joint Funding Committee that has been allocated responsibility for administering legacy community funding schemes. The Committee held its first, largely procedural,  meeting on 30 July. We elected Leila Boyle as chair and Desley Simpson as deputy chair and agreed the terms of reference of the committee that ensure that in practice the same model as 2011/12 will be implemented. Funds were also distributed to the Great Barrier Island and Waiheke Island Local Boards. The agenda and minutes of this committee are available on the Board’s website page under “Local Board agendas and minutes”.

Other issues relevant to the Community portfolio

A range of meetings were attended during July relevant to the Community portfolio – these are listed below.

Other Board Activities

Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill

At the Board’s July meeting we confirmed out agreement with the  Auckland Council’s proposed submission on the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill with one exception regarding the elected council setting employment and remuneration policy. I drafted the Board’s submission to make additional comments in relation to the proposed consequential changes to the Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009 (the Act) and the impact on local boards. A copy of the submission is attached to the agenda.

Declaration of Interests 2012

I submitted my Declaration of Interests in accordance with Auckland’s Code of Conduct at the end of June. I have decided to make a register of my interests publicly available and to keep it up to date on my website.

LGNZ conference

I attended the LGNZ annual conference on behalf of the Waitemata Local Board with funding from the Board’s professional development budget. My report on the conference including my expenses is available here

Local Board workshops and meetings

Attended: Local Board workshop on 3 July

  • Transport Committee meeting on 4 July
  • Meeting to discuss the future of Pioneer Womans Hall as a community asset
  • Various meetings to confirm the board’s community grants application and guidelines.
  • Meetings to discuss the board’s unitary plan engagement strategy
  • Meeting with the Telecom Foundation to discuss the location of the Telecom Christmas tree
  • Workshop for local board members on the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill
  • Cluster workshop on 9 July regarding the Sports and Recreation strategy
  • Waitemata Local Board monthly public meeting on 10 July at 35 Graham Street
  • Meeting to discuss the recommendations of the operational subsidies for Community Centres in the Waitemata Local Board area on 11 July
  • Parnell roundabout meeting with Auckland Transport
  • Site visit to Lumsden Green with board members and officers regarding the proposal to develop a new café frontage on the square.
  • Monthly catch up with Ashley Church, CEO Newmarket Business Association
  • Local Board workshop on 24 July Waitemata communications catch up
  • Monthly meeting with  Community Development and Partnerships Central
  • Joint meeting with Stephen Town, NZTA and Matthew Rednall, AT to discuss the status of various projects in the Waitemata area –  city centre motorway ramps; update on one system approach with AT; Grafton Gully to port; grafton gully cycleway project
  • Pacific Island Pioneers Centre proposal meeting with Rev. Obed Unasa
  • Bikes in Schools programme meeting with Sport Auckland
  • Next steps with Public Art meeting on 19 July Meeting  regarding plans for a Wynyard Quarter farmers’ market
  • Public Forum on Newmarket Station Square on 25 July
  • Monthly transport portfolio catch ups with Auckland Transport on 26 July
  • Preparatory meeting for Grey Lynn Park Advisory group meeting
  • Central Joint Funding Committee meeting on 30 July
  • Community Forum on the social implications of gambling at the Problem Gambling Foundation of NZ boardroom, 31 July

Events and functions

I attended the following events and functions during July:

  • Farmers’ Market of NZ conference on Monday 2 July at the Jubiliee Buildings (in my role as chair of the GLFM)
  • Auckland Conversations on 3 July – an excellent presentation by Bill Dunster, founder of the ZED factory who spoke about how to reduce our environmental impact while increasing our quality of life
  • Western Bays Community Group meeting in Grey Lynn on 3 July
  • Cycle Action’s Associates Breakfast at the Art Gallery on 5 July
  • Good Drinks on 5 July at the Nathan club raising money for the Village Project in Uganda
  • Grey Lynn Business Association July networking drinks at Kokako
  • “Reclaiming Grey Lynn’s resources” presentation with Warren Snow organised by Grey Lynn 2030 at the Grey Lynn RSC
  • 15-17 July LGNZ conference in Queenstown
  • Kermadec Fundraiser at Western Springs College
  • Richmond Rovers Rugby League Club – Afi Ah Kuoi Memorial Day on Saturday 21 July
  • Krishnan’s Dairy at Q Theatre (at the invitation of Q Theatre)
  • GLBA seminar – .  “Attract – How to Get More Customers Online”
  • St Mary’s Bay Association Inc. AGM 26 July
  • Korean Veterans Cease Fire Parade on 27 July – presented a wreath with Christine Fletcher on behalf of the Council
  • Sustainable Environment Awards presentation 2012 on 30 July
  • Blessing of the Garden to table project at Wynyard Quarter on 31 July