Long-awaited projects like Newtown Connections have been delayed for this policy, so we’re happy to see it arrive. You might think parking is boring but this policy will be instrumental in helping the council manage concerns and issues around parking in Wellington. It prioritises space for people and movement, helping you get around on a bike comfortably and easily. Let’s get submitting and make sure that the council is making the best decisions around allocating space in our city!
Start your journey here: https://www.letstalk.wellington.govt.nz/managecityparking/survey_tools/have-your-say1
The Policy starts with some objectives. We think they’re all important and you should support them. The last objective of “Service Excellence” might be the least important. It’s focused on investing in making paying for parking easier. We’re not sure that’s worth spending money on.
One objective that could be added is supporting “Economic Localism”. That means giving businesses more say over the use of street space directly outside their shop. If a cafe wants to turn their car park into outdoor seating, or a store wants to have bike parking directly out front, the council should make that change as easy as possible. Good examples might be along Marion Street outside Bicycle Junction or Vivian St outside MyRide or Deco Bikes.
We’re concerned about the first principle. The full text of this principle includes: Any parking management changes will consider the effect that related changes in revenue will have on ratepayers. The council makes revenue from its car parks and so currently has a financial conflict in reducing the number of car parks in the city. This principle should make sure that the council realises the true value of the land currently used for car storage, and explores other avenues to replace the lost income. Improvements to liveability, transport choice and public health benefit us all. We think the rest of the principles are helpful.
Overall we agree with the priorities for parking spaces as suggested. The movement of people and goods (cycleways!) is given the highest priority, but there are some issues.
We don’t think that on-street car parking (Short-stay, Residents, or Commuter) should ever be given high priority. This places on-street parking at the same level as bus-stops, and in many cases above mobility parking, EV parking,car-share, bicycle/micro-mobility parking or loading zones. This is counter to the council’s own sustainable transport hierarchy and objective of “Becoming an Eco-City”
The worst cases of this are in the “City Fringe” and “Outer Residential Areas”. We recommend disagreeing with the priorities suggested in these two areas, and saying why in question 14.
We would like to see bicycle and micro-mobility parking prioritised everywhere. Many Wellington houses are up loads of stairs that can make taking your bike home everyday a heavy deal. Some cities provide lockable neighbourhood bike storage and we think WCC should prioritise space for doing the same.
We think motorcycle parking should be given higher priority. Motorcycles are not allowed to park in paid car parks, and the undersupply of dedicated parking results in motorcycles being parked on footpaths and bike racks. Another option would be to open up the use of paid car parks to more types of vehicles.
We support the implementation of demand-responsive pricing as it will result in better turnover for car parks, meaning less cars driving round the city hunting for parks.
However, we don’t think that this is enough. The value of central city land is far greater than what the council currently makes back from parking charges. If a park has low usage, we think that rather than make it super-cheap, we should find something better to do with the space.
International research has shown that pricing, rather than time limits are:
- Easier to administer and enforce
- Can end up being cheaper for people parking
- Lead to more efficient parking
Residents Parking Scheme
We think all of the suggestions would be good additions to the scheme, except for discounted exemption permits. Residents’ parking is already 95% cheaper than market rates for car storage, so we shouldn’t reduce prices any further. Currently the council is restricted by the Local Government Act in how much it can charge for Residents Parking. We’d like to see the council lobby Central Government to allow aligning the price of Residents Parking with the opportunity costs of providing it. It is important to note that discounts can entrench the view that parking is a right or entitlement, this makes repurposing that space very difficult in future.
We recommend ranking the priorities for permits in the order they’re listed, but with “Existing dwellings with 1 or more off-street space” and “second permits” ranked 7th & 8th respectively.
Barriers to public transport use
Here’s your space to let the council know what makes it hard for you to get around Wellington by bus or bike?