Pippa Coom: Looking forward to moving through the new traffic light system

Freedoms are increasing as Auckland looks forward to moving through the new traffic light system thanks to vaccinations hitting 90% of eligible population.

Even with the new protection framework it is an anxious and stressful time for businesses and those who have borne the brunt of lockdown. Cancellation of the Franklin Road lights for the second year in a row is a clear sign that “normal” isn’t returning in time for this Christmas season.

Council has set up a free fast-track application process for hospo looking to make use of outside public space including car parks. How we use our parking is a very emotive topic especially after headlines that there is a “radical” plan coming and a “war on cars”. In fact there is a far more positive outlook for the new year that will benefit our local businesses and neighbourhoods.

The Planning Committee of Council has recently endorsed the objectives and principles to inform a parking discussion document that will go out for feedback in March. We haven’t signed off on the removal of parking or a final version of the strategy and we are only at the starting point of consultation to inform a refresh of the existing 2015 Parking Strategy.

If we get the strategy right, parking management can be a key lever to reduce our carbon emissions, increase mode shift and encourage active transport, improve safety, reduce transport inequity and reduce congestion across the network. We will have the right size tools to respond to growth and increasing intensification. It will be good for business and good for Auckland.

The current Parking Strategy 2015 was arguably “radical” for Auckland or at least progressive for its time. The strategy provides for parking to be de-prioritised and for road space to be allocated in favour of active transport, PT, and the movement of people and freight. What is being proposed now is not new or “radical” but a refresh of the existing strategy to give AT a clear mandate to implement the very parking management tools AT already has available.

Central city residents are very familiar with the parking management tools proposed to be implemented across

Auckland starting with locations that have a higher readiness for change. Many residents were outraged when the first residential parking scheme was trialed in St Marys Bay almost a decade ago to cope with the influx of all day commuter parking. That scheme proved extremely successful and has served as the template for a city-wide roll out.

It has been well signalled since 2015 that residents of new apartments will not be eligible for residential parking permits. In the city centre and central suburbs there is no longer an expectation that vehicle storage will automatically be available on public roads for free.

Business Associations which were once very sceptical about the benefits of paid parking have been won over by the results. It is good for business to use demand responsive pricing to encourage turnover and to allow customers to purchase the parking they need. There is a heap of evidence from New Zealand and across the world to share with businesses about the economic opportunities of re-allocating road space to PT, active modes and extended footpaths.

Ngā mihi o te wā Season’s Greetings to all Ponsonby News readers and best wishes for 2022. (PIPPA COOM)


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Published 3 December 2021