First of all I would like to point out a potential Conflict of Interest here:
I work in the CBD, I visit the CBD often for shopping, dining, movies (going to see James Bond in Gold Class again), and the make the annual trip to Vector Arena to watch the Silver Ferns against the Aussie Diamonds. That means travelling from Papakura to the CBD and back again. However I also have parking provided for me by my employer when I work, get discounted train travel, and am within easy reach of Papakura Station. What it means is and to be straight up, I do not face what others would with parking in the CBD out of necessity which does exist. Thus I am declaring my conflict of interest on a personal level here. However thinking of my fellow citizens – now then this is where this post comes in.
The Post at Hand
Yesterday I caught a Twitter feed from Councillor George Wood that parking fees in the CBD where due for a change – a change UPWARDS that is. Auckland Transport Blog cottoned on as well and wrote a post titled: CBD Parking scheme joins the 21st century; which includes the Auckland Transport press release, the Parking Tariff Structure and a nice pretty map on the dual zoning for the revamped CBD parking scheme. The NZ Herald also ran a story this morning on the proposed parking scheme for the CBD and can be read by clicking the link above.
Now what do I think of this (Conflict of Interest aside)?
I can see both the pros and cons for this kind of scheme.
The pros being (from Auckland Transport Blog):
- An effective 10 minutes of free parking throughout the city centre – making it easier for quick drop-offs and nipping into a place to get something.
- A much simpler system that is easier to understand – and hopefully the removal of a huge amount of parking related signage from the central city.
- The escalating cost of parking means that relatively short-stay can stay reasonably affordable whereas longer-stay users will migrate into parking buildings as it becomes increasingly costly to park on the street.
- Extending the paying period to 10pm at night should make it easier to get a car park if you’re visiting the city centre after 6pm. I get the feeling at the moment that many apartment dwellers park their cars on the street overnight, taking up places of people who want to visit a restaurant etc.
I must be a rare specimen as I do travel to the CBD quite frequently for non work related trips – in fact my next leisure (well partly) trip to the CBD is this Sunday for a spot of Birthday shopping, some food, then work (STINKER :P) so the conflict of interest could be raised there. The point being though I frequent the CBD often while others (as we will see in the Con side) avoid the place.
The Cons being:
- Lack of readily and accessible public transport (especially in the off-peak and weekends)
- Potential of upwards of $29 being added to your restaurant or movie bill by the time you return to your car
- CBD public transport system is a bit of a shambles
- Planning to make the scheme work is missing
- This from Facebook: Straight from the Net…Central London Parking…
Trafalgar Square Parking £20.00 a day from 07 Jun…£60.00
2 days……Auckland City have set a new parking rate $30 for 4 hours!!!!!….  (Greater) London is probably one of the biggest Cities on Earth Pop over 78 Million..Auck is like 1% of this..well under a mill’…So how does this work…yet another example of unmitigated greed & a typical Kiwi rip off rort !!!…People living here think its par for the course, it’s becase they know no better and are being fed off.
I think even with the exchange rate at 2:1 on the Pound you can still see that London parking is cheaper. However mentioning our sole World City (London) brings me to my main point: We do not have a viable alternative system to offer people to NOT bring their cars into the CBD.
You see London has an array of buses, taxis, and rail (including The Tube) to ferry around people quickly, efficiently and relatively cheaply. Auckland does not have this array (yet) of public transport options available, so to me we are penalising people further for wanting to come into the CBD (and believe me the CBD needs all the help it can get outside of the 9-5 scene).
I would support the new parking scheme if we had a viable alternative in position, but because we do not I OPPOSE the scheme – pure and simple. To get me to support the scheme you need the following in position first for the CBD:
- The CRL – so the main sections of the CBD are reachable by train regardless on how you got to the CBD from the suburbs first
- Parking Garages on the outskirts of the CBD, complemented with shuttle buses, and the City and Inner Link Buses (for the North Shore you would need a big park and ride at Akoranga Busway Station). This would allow people to drive from the suburbs to the CBD outskirts, park up then catch a shuttle, bus or train into the main CBD core. You would also get spin offs through being able to add more pedestrian malls and shared zones with reduction of inner CBD traffic.
- A working and frequent off peak service to give better incentive to come into the CBD via mass transit from the suburbs (could mean extending timetables and better security on mass transit to discourage anti-social behaviour (a real turn off from using the bus or train).
If one was wondering where the main parking garages would be ringing the CBD I was thinking (but not limited to) these areas:
- Next to Grafton Station (the old Brewery Site is up for redevelopment) and may be Mt Eden Station on the Western Rail Line.
- Near Newmarket South (there is some under utilised car lots next to the Newmarket Viaduct that would do just nicely – and still within an 800 metre/10 minute distance gap to Newmarket Station (see Mapnificent Graphic below for areas within reach of proposed parking building)
- The Auckland Water-Frontier Transit Station (has to be built first and that is at least 20 years away)
- Orakei and G.I Train Stations which have Park and Rides
- Wynyard Quarter near Fanshawe Street (State Highway One end)
I have put the parking garages next to both main public transport and private transport (the car) lines/routes where catchment and delivery of the CBD shuttle services would be most optimal. I left Grey Lynn and Ponsonby out due to their frequent buses travelling up and down the area making parking garages somewhat redundant. People travelling down the North Western Motorway to reach the CBD could use the Grafton or Newmarket South parking garages (or just park in the University of Auckland parking garage) if they were to “shuttle in” to the inner CBD.
As for existing parking garages inside the CBD, I would say they would become “overflow” options for if and when the outskirts’ garages get full (large special event?) or in the case out of pure necessity that you need an inner-city parking garage (but prepare for the price consequence as a result).
The idea of parking garages surrounding the CBD with shuttle services (road or rail) finishing the journey into the inner-city is worth investigation. It is also another post in its own right (which I might get around to). However my entire point is; is that Auckland does not have this alternative system like London or what I just outlined above. Thus this parking change proposed by Auckland Transport is just utter criminal against citizens and tourists alike – especially if our parking costs more than London.
So how about Auckland Council and Transport getting its act together and putting in a viable system first to encourage people out of their cars in the inner city, rather than penalising them through no fault of their own (that being a LACK of a viable alternative system to the car in the first instance). Seems we are having the cart before the horse here – and a great incentive to keep people out of a struggling CBD… So much for the Mayor’s dream of Most Livable City when we can not even access its (Auckland’s) Heart! Makes the second core of Auckland – Manukau just that more inviting for a South Sider like me
The Mapnificent Graphic showing the 10 minute reach by walking or bus from the proposed Newmarket South Parking Garage (Newmarket Station is a 800m walk from the proposed site, and it is 7 mins by train from Newmarket to Britomart currently (Pre CRL))