Need the Alternative first before “penalising” car users
Again l 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
My Alternative Laid Out
Last week I wrote a post on how Auckland Council and Transport were planning to change the parking regime in the Auckland CBD. In the post I spelled out the pros and cons of such a change (mainly cost of parking would be more expensive than Central London (exchange rate taken into account) and my viable alternative to such a regime – both pre and post City Rail Link.
Lets take a brief recap of the alternative I laid out:
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) (My proposed Wynyard Transit Station)
Well today I drew up some maps of this alternative scheme, and filed my submission to Auckland Transport formally opposing their Central City Parking Zone WITHOUT viable alternatives in position first.
Click for full view
This is the overview map which includes the following:
- The City with the AT Proposed Central City Parking Zone
- The Auckland Water-Frontier – a different matter but included it for reference
- Major road and rail routes with accompanying train stations
- The City Rail Link with its stations (to be operating around 2022-2025 with full completion around 2028)
- The proposed Park and Ride garages (Akoranga Station facility not on this map but is part of my proposal)
As more close up maps will show, I have tried to get these Park and Ride Garage facilities as close to both major road and rail routes/stations as possible for maximum accessibility and connectivity
Click for full view
You can see in this image where I have dotted the proposed Park and Ride Garages; some outside the Central City Parking Zone, some inside like Wynyard Quarter and The Auckland Water-Frontier (proposed). This is consistent what the initial proposal of the PnR facilities in my earlier post and repeated again above. As I also said from the first map above, these PnR facilities are very close to existing and new (the CRL) public transport routes/stations.
People would be drive to one of these PnR facilities, use your Integrated Transport Card (Hop currently) to “tag in” into the facility, walk and catch the bus, shuttle or train heading to the CBD (again tagging on and off with the Transport Card), conduct your business in the CBD, then do the reverse heading back out to your car. Simple, seamless, efficient and no buggering around finding a park in the CBD.
But for this to work you need (and again I repeat): 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).
By frequent I mean every 5 mins for a bus during the peak, 7 mins in the off-peak and weekend (so shuttles would work here); 10 mins for train in peak and off-peak. Anything less frequent will simply not work and return the incentive for the car user to try their luck in the CBD despite the high City Centre Parking Zone fees.
I have just noticed that the Park and Ride #1 and #2 facilities give an extra bonus to Newmarket in the form of accessibility. Newmarket is a royal bugger for parking any time of the week. But taking a look at these two PnR facilities I can see people rocking up to the facilities, doing a spot of shopping at Newmarket, using a train or bus to the CBD to do more shopping, then return back up to the Park and Ride facility and head home. Maybe Newmarket and the CBD need to work together in forming All Day Shopping and Entertainment Packages utilising my alternative parking regime to encourage people to make use of both areas of the city rather than one trying to kill the other off…
Click for full view
A close up of the Newmarket/Grafton Park and Ride Garages, their closeness to major roads and State Highway One, and the rail system with the Newmarket and Grafton Stations. The black dots are the pedestrian routes to and from both Newmarket and Grafton Stations from the Park and Ride Garages.
Now one would ask why did I include the City Rail Link (CRL) in this. Well that is because my alternative proposal caters for both pre CRL (so current) and Post CRL (2025 (and yes the CRL will be built) and would be silly not to include the CRL in my proposal. The operating patterns however are different Pre and Post CRL.
Pre CRL the Grafton Park and Ride Facility would be reliant on the Central City Busway Connector that I marked in the top and middle maps. There is no point using the train from Grafton to the CBD as you have a three-minute layover at Newmaket Station before continuing to Britomart. So you might as well use the Busway Connector that is quicker and gives you more accessibility the upper and mid-town which catching the train to Britomart would not currently allow unless you wanted to take a hike – uphill.
Post CRL the game plan changes entirely. Again take a look at all three maps (top and middle in particular) and see where the CRL is placed along with its stations. Using the Post CRL (but pre North Shore Line) Operations and Timetable system I am currently working on (another post, another day); you would rock up to either Park and Ride #1 or #2 and catch a train that would go to Britomart directly (so Newmarket to Britomart as current), or to Britomart via the CRL (Newmarket/Grafton, Newton via CRL EAST LINK), K Road, Aotea Station, and finally Britomart. So with the CRL operating you basically get to choose either the train or the bus via the Busway Connector, either way it makes the CBD more accessible while creating the spin-off benefits previously indicated above and briefly recapped here: (You would also get spin offs through being able to add more pedestrian malls and shared zones with reduction of inner CBD traffic).
As for the parking charges proposed by Auckland Transport; I still think the charges in both zones are excessive (to a point) regardless of my alternative proposal going forward or not. To make my point clear; by excessive I mean that the charges for the first three hours are fine in both zones for both weekday and weekend. However the fourth hour charge is excessive compared to somewhere like London and regardless of my alternative proposal going forward or not. The idea with the alternative parking proposal and subsequent (revised) charges is to still allow choice between car and public transport from the suburb, but have the incentive to use the Park and Ride Facilities while having a reasonable disincentive not to park in the central city streets (however still allowing it to the limited extent if one is willing to pay the cost.
As for parking fees for these Park and Ride Garages, I have devised the following structure:
Weekday (7am – 9pm)
$3 an hour with a maximum fee of $14 able to be charges (it is of note that a Day Rover from the Bus and Train is $12)
Saturday and weeknights (9pm to 7am the next day)
$2 per hour with a maximum fee of $10 (it is of note that a 1 stage fare for both train and train is $1.80 for an adult)
So in sum up, I have opposed Auckland Transport’s proposed Central City Parking Zone as they have: 1) no alternative in place to discourage cars coming into the inner CBD in the first instance; 2) excessive penalising car users anyway regardless of a viable alternative in place or not. Price gouging is a word I can think of here for this proposal AT has put forward at the minimum – and lack of creative thought for no alternative for car users at its worst.
Come on guys, thinking hats on please. I can see the merits of this City Centre Parking Zone regime but heck let’s do it as a complete and comprehensive package for the benefit of the city; not go for the simple revenue gathering exercise with no actual benefit to consumers and service sector alike…