Hark Back to the 1950s
Go Forward into the 21st Century
Oh dear seems I have some whingers in my own backyard – Papakura in relation to the Town Centre.
From the Papakura Courier
Customers who nervously check their watches and rush their errands are the norm in Papakura’s town centre.
Just ask Vicki Tomlinson, owner of Alarmlock on Great South Rd.
She says the 10-minute and 30-minute parking limits along the road – combined with enthusiastic parking wardens – make it hard for people to relax when they shop in town.
“They’re constantly worrying about their parking,” she says.
Ms Tomlinson is not alone. A survey of business owners by the Papakura Town Centre Association shows parking is a huge issue and many say the time limits are driving customers away.
Although it might suit Alarmlock to have fast car park turnover outside its business, “in the long run the customers in Papakura want to come in and be relaxed when they shop”, Ms Tomlinson says.
If people have more time to shop they will come into the town centre to run errands, which “definitely” will have payoffs for her business.
Town centre manager Kathleen Lindesay presented the survey’s findings to the Papakura Local Board last week.
She asked it to lobby Auckland Transport to change the 10-minute parks to 30 minutes and double the 30-minute slots to one hour.
An assessment from the New Zealand Retailers Association northern regional manager Russell Sinclair came to the same conclusion.
He says while there is opportunity for the town centre to hold its own against shopping malls, the time limits are a “major impediment”.
It’s impossible to comfortably shop in 30 minutes and customers he spoke to agree something needs to change.
“Aggressive” parking wardens compound the problem, often ticketing even when there are plenty of empty parking spaces,” he says.
Ms Lindesay told the board customers “shouldn’t feel penalised for coming into town”.
“We’re trying to encourage people to come to Papakura and shop local, and we don’t want them constantly looking up at a sign going ‘Oh my God, have I got enough time?’ ”
Seventy-five percent of shop owners also support a return to angle parking on one side of the street but board members say that is unlikely to happen.
Yes the Papakura Town Centre struggles as it competes against Southgate, the soon to open Takanini Village, and even the Manukau City Centre with the large Westfield Mall.
But, seriously all the retailers, Local Board and various associations can think of is extend the parking limits and create more parking spaces in the main street by reverting back to angle parking?
This is while I count around five decent size Auckland Transport operated free parking facilities with two-hour parking limits not more that 150-200 metres away from the core main street strip. These same facilities is where I park the car to conduct my business in Papakura. Not once would I think of looking for a park in the core area (in yellow on the subsequent pictures).
This picture shows the locations of the AT operated parking facilities
Click for full resolution
The maps/pictures show the parking facilities that 2 hour limits, as well as the bypass option for thoroughfare traffic.
A close up of the northern end
I usually park at the two northern AT parking facilities when conducting business such as visiting Farmers, the bank and quite frequently the library. That means folks I actually walk to my destinations after parking the car.
The main view of Papakura Town Centre (core area) that also shows the proposal I have for that area
Again click for full resolution
So what are the two shaded box areas I have on the main street – which is the Great South Road? They are areas that Auckland Transport and the Local Board should be actively investigating to flip over from an eye sore car-centric strip, to a vibrant shared space zone like Fort Street in the CBD. The yellow would be first (within three years) and red within ten years.
Lets take a major close up on the yellow area – the very area where the retailers are complaining (mostly)
Click for full resolution
I have no idea why they are complaining when I count three large AT operated free parking facilities in extreme close proximity. Those red lines from the parking areas to the main street are no longer than 100 metres at most. The parking facilities are as usual equipped with mobility bays and can be retrofitted for pram parking as well.
I have this for the main street retailers of my Papakura Town Centre.
Do you know what the biggest turn off and eye sore from the Main Street is for me. Those actual cars parked on it rather than in the AT Parking Facilities. Those parked cars are a damned hazard having to criss cross the street to get to where ever I need to and the crossings are in the most awkward spots I can think of – especially for the library.
And you seriously want to put even more parking in there via the old angle parking? That really ramps up the safety hazard and blight those cars cause on the main street.
It is because of that safety hazard and eye sore from the cars on the Main Street that Papakura Town Centre struggles – NOT from a lack of parking which there is plenty. People just need to stop being so damned lazy and walk just that extra 150-200 metres from an AT parking facility. In saying that there will always be provisions for mobility parking users so they need not fret.
Fret from actually flipping over at first the yellow box area from a car-rat runners drag to a shared space where people share the space (and have right of way over cars (but not buses)).
Turning that yellow box area into a 10km/h shared space, some nice upgrades to include benches, planter boxes with plants, footpath art, bike racks, dog tie up posts, water fountains, decorative street lighting, and ample signage telling people the both the bypass routes and parking facility locations will what bring people into main street shopping. Shopping and parting with their (and my) hard-earned cash in our local area.
Also turning that part of the Main Street over into a vibrant shared space that can even hold Saturday markets will be a good foundational start as Papakura morphs into either a Large Town Centre or (heavens forbid) a Metropolitan Centre. I would think the shared space would be a nice small start to the urban renewal of Papakura Town Centre ready for the Unitary Plan as it becomes operative in three years time.
One last thing
From the Courier article
The board’s transport portfolio holders will now ask Auckland Transport to look into parking times.
I hope AT will rebuff Papakura Local Board and instead help foster some urban renewal like I suggested above.
As for those retailers – I hear the 1950s are wanting their auto-centric planning back.
Oh and I am being harsh on my “Local” retailers? Yes I am as they should know better. They should be pushing for a vibrant pedestrian friendly Main Street fit for the 21st Century – especially with ample parking facilities so close by; rather than harking back to a doomed and failed auto-centric 1950’s model.
#BetterPapakura = #BetterAuckland