On Saturday Auckland Transport release a discussion document that could have huge long term implications for Auckland. It is about how parking will be managed across the region and you can read it here (2.26MB). This is an all-encompassing parking document and covers both on and off street parking from the CBD all the way down to suburban streets and park and ride. Parking seems to be one area that seems to get many people wound up to biblical proportions and so I suspect this is a document that could get a lot of feedback. Here’s the executive summary.

The supply, management and pricing of parking directly impacts on the achievement of transport and land use outcomes. Good parking management is vital for the safe and efficient operation of the road network, supporting the economic development of Auckland’s City Centre, town and business centres as well as increased public transport use. The projected growth in population, employment and economic activity in Auckland will increase competing demands on the road network, including parking.

This Discussion Document outlines the key issues relating to parking in Auckland and seeks feedback on the suggested approaches to address them. It takes into consideration current and emerging problems and trends influencing the provision and management of: on-street and off-street parking in Auckland’s City Centre and other business centres; parking on arterial, local roads and residential streets; and park and ride facilities to support public transport and meet demand.

The approaches suggested in this document are intended to provide the overarching framework to guide customised responses to parking supply and management that reflect local characteristics. Feedback on the Discussion Document will assist the development of a Parking Strategy, which will be included in the next Integrated Transport Programme, due for completion in mid-2015.

The key issues identified in relation to parking across Auckland have been grouped into the following areas:

  • Managing demand for parking in the City Centre, metropolitan and town centres
  • Competing demands for parking in residential streets
  • Managing off-street parking facilities
  • Inconsistent on-street parking restrictions across Auckland
  • The conflict between parking on arterial roads and improving public transport provision
  • Managing the demand for parking permits amongst competing users
  • Addressing the shortage of park and ride facilities to support public transport patronage.

Existing parking policies reflect the objectives from legacy councils and the Auckland Regional Council and require rationalisation and reassessment. A proposed parking strategy for Auckland is necessary to reflect the intent and outcomes of the Auckland Plan, proposed Unitary Plan and the Regional Public Transport Plan and to provide an integrated approach.

Having a quick read through the document there is a lot to be positive about sprinkled all through it which shows that AT have actually been putting some serious thought into the document. There’s also a lot of really valuable information on where things are and where their heading. Starting off AT have a section dedicated to looking at the trends in each of the key areas they’ve identified.

Including on street and off street spaces there are a massive 51,800 carparks in the city centre. Of those 8,400 are managed by AT with 3,500 on street carparks and 4,900 are off street (of which 73% are long stay parks e.g. leases and earlybird parking). The breakdown of all parking supply is below and across the entire market around 71% are long stay parks.

CBD Parking Supply

What’s perhaps more interesting is the modelling that has been done on the number of trips to the city centre by mode (car or PT). AT say in the text that car trips will remain fairly consistent with 2011 levels however the numbers actually show a fairly substantial drop during both the peak and interpeak times.

CBD Trips by mode

What is perhaps most interesting about these figures is how they differ from the CCFAS study. I understand that the modelling has been updated and at a quick glance it seems to have resulted in less car trips and more PT trips to the city centre.

Going a little further into the parking document it is quite surprising to see that AT are actually confirming that they are the cheapest parking operator in town and that earlybird parking simply encourages people to drive during the peak. They even hint at changing this.

AT is currently charging less than commercial operators for long stay parking – $13 early bird versus $14 on average. Early bird parking encourages commuter trips and generally applies prior to 8:30am in AT car parks and 9:30am in commercial operated car parks. AT can influence a shift commuter demand away from the morning peak by reducing the amount of long stay parking, increasing prices to achieve parity with commercial operators, changing the conditions for early bird parking and moving toward more short stay parking.

AT have also done similar modelling to the city centre for the Metropolitan centres and Town centres identified in the Auckland Plan. The results are grouped together for all centres but in a key difference to the city centre, it shows vehicle trips increasing. PT increases too and with larger percentages however patronage is coming off a much lower base.

Metro & Town centre Trips by mode 2

AT have even come up with a set of priorities for what parking space in town centres should be used for

Parking Priorities

Perhaps one criticism of the document is that more could have been done to highlight that PT users, walkers and cyclists all shop too and that evidence locally and internationally shows that the impact of parking provision is over frequently overestimated by retailers.

Outside of the centres AT want to look at a number of options. In the City Fringe they want to look at how best to manage parking. They say residents parking schemes have been successful but can also reduce the availability of spaces for other uses resulting in less efficient use of parking spaces. In the suburbs around centres they also say that parking management of some form – most likely time limits – maybe be required.

One area of the document that is bound to get push back is the section about parking on arterials. In it AT are now saying that more road space should be used for buses and cyclists

  • Where the arterial is also a FTN route and when that route meets the FTN service levels, prohibit all on-street parking and loading and consider providing replacement parking and loading at convenient locations for local businesses adjacent to the arterial road. The timing and detail will be determined on a case by case review of each arterial road corridor.
  • Where parking is located along the regional cycle network and when there are proven safety issues or there is a current or projected high cycle use, prohibit all on street parking and consider providing replacement parking at convenient locations for local businesses adjacent to the arterial road. The timing and detail will be determined on a case by case review of each arterial corridor.

The last major area is Park and Ride and it’s the category I think AT are perhaps the weakest on. AT say that there are currently 5,300 formal P&R carparks scattered all around the region however they want to add up to another 10,000 based on what some other cities have. Not included in the document but AT have said elsewhere that they expect the additional 10k carparks to deliver 7 million extra trips per year. To me that figure seems overly optimistic as assuming each space generated two trips per day they would all have to be used almost every day of the year which just doesn’t seem practical.

Current P&R

The map below shows where some of those 10,000 extra carparks might go. Some of these like Avondale and Mt Albert seem way to close to the city centre to me, especially post CRL.

Future P&R

One small positive is AT is now talking about the possibility of charging for park and ride.

Overall this draft seems like a huge step in the right direction so well done AT. First an outstanding Regional Public Transport Plan now a fairly good parking strategy, next you’ll be telling us you’ve got a new version of the ITP focused around the CFN.

What will be critical is how well it is holds up after the discussion period so it’s vital that people support some of the key themes, especially the use of carparks for more valuable purposes like PT provision and cycling facilities. Consultation starts on Saturday.

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  1. AT should not be undercutting commerical operators – that is a direct subsidy from the rate payer to the individual car driver.

    AT should also be aiming for its carparks to never be full. If they are full, then they are not charging enough.

    I haven’t really though this through but the pricing should also favor short stays. If you only need to pop into the city, it is unlikely you will use public transport, but for longer stays you will??? Or maybe middle of the day off-peak prices as opposed to the 7-9am busy period on the roads, provide you are out before 2pm so you are home before the school rush?.

    1. Really annoying to get into town to a meeting at 11am to find the carpark full because they subsidised too many people at $13 per day who all drove during the peak. And its not as if I can park at Constellation Dr and get the bus because that is full of free-loaders. So I end up driving around the CBD looking for a space when I would happily pay $15 for an hour and a half. Just price all spaces by the half hour and lift the price until they are almost full. Do that in the CBD and at the park and ride.

  2. It worried me initially to read in the exec summary “The conflict between parking on arterial roads and improving public transport provision”, because there’s just as big a conflict between parking and cycling provision. However I was pleased to read later that “AT are now saying that more road space should be used for buses and cyclists”.

    It’s good to see AT changing their approach here. My experience with AT is that on-street parking is sacrosanct, and removing it for cycling infrastructure (or even to remove a dangerous pinch point) takes months, if at all.

    I’ve always maintained that our roads are paid for by our rates and taxes for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods, not for the convenience of those adjacent. Why should motorists park for free on a community asset? It should be managed to either provide safety and efficiency, or a financial return to the community that paid for it.

    After spending time in Singapore, I was impressed by how little vehicle congestion there was for such a large and populous city. Then the reasons became apparent – high vehicle registration costs, road tolling, paid parking in any public location, and an extraordinarily efficient PT system. If we took a leaf out of their book, we could solve Auckland’s congestion problems in a flash.

    Addressing parking is an essential component – I just hope the howls of outrage from the car lobby and shopkeepers who mistakenly believe that cars buy goods don’t torpedo it.

    1. ‘My experience with AT is that on-street parking is sacrosanct’

      Yes this has been the case, but can no longer be the case; it’s just not possible. It will be interesting to watch.

      Unfortunately the Dominion Rd example shows that AT’s own internal conflict around this means that we [ratepayers] are going to be spending tens and tens of millions on new place-ruining parking land and structures to compensate for using our road space more efficiently. This also comes with the additional cost of incentivising driving, undoing an important part of parking reduction; modeshift encouragement.

    2. Singapore runs its trains on time and quickly. Auckland could take years to achieve this. Singapore charges $60,000 to COE (certificate of Entitlement) to own a car for 10 years, as well as 150% duty. Even with such draconian measures, the bidding for CoEs keeps rising. It shows how powerful the demand to own and use a car really is. For example, a Honda Civic costs $138,000 to buy, and after 10 years it must be exported or scrapped!

  3. I really like the idea of removing parking spaces on arterials. This is space which will be much better used for bus lanes and bike lanes, and remove some safety issues associated with parking on arterials and buses weaving in and out of their non continuous bus lane (I’m looking at you, Dominion Rd).

    1. I think AT have already promised those arterial parks to the dominion road business associations, it would probably be hard for them to back out now. I guess if it was a city wide rule it could be a basis to change that initial promise.

  4. Agree with the post and the five comments to date. This document is a very positive step by AT, we need to support it loudly and strongly to make sure the usual suspects don’t water it down. With enough push we may even get the park and ride (MT Albert in particular seems a bizarre location for PNR given the train station improvements going on and the CRL to come) watered down – victories piled on victories!

    Particularly agree that bus and cycle lanes should be prioritised on arterial routes over parking, and that AT is subsidising car commuting into the city centre. These areas need to change if Auckland is to fulfil its potential as a 21st-century city.

    Overall very positive, let’s keep the momentum going AT!

  5. Re PNR – “as assuming each space generated two trips per day” – iirc at Albany the closest spaces are reserved for T2, which generate at least 4 trips per day. Does the doc mention whether they are proposing more of these types of spaces?

    1. Assuming those parks are even being policed which I doubt they are, add in the cost of having a warden there and it’s suddenly a pretty expensive proposal to have T2 anywhere.

  6. The NZ Herals have already come out with an articule on this, and it’s all doom and gloom.
    Sigh, the NZ Herald is one of the biggest problems for Auckland.

    1. Good though that AT leaders aren’t elected so a bit of public outcry shouldn’t worry them too much. Looks like AT are listening to the likes of this site!

      1. What I wonder is, who are all these mysterious people who can reliably get a park directly outside their house or shop, even if there is technically parking outside? Like all the Dominion Road types opposed to the bus lane clearways? When can you ever get a park on Dominion Road?

        In real life Auckland, except in the quietest residential side streets, you generally have to park 50-100 metres away from anything, or if you’re loading, just park blatantly illegally on the berm or the footpath or broken yellow lines or fire hydrant or something.

        If we actually cared about people getting the groceries in or even doing serious loading, we’d have P10 and loading zones everywhere. On the other hand, that’d mean actually enforcing any of those time limits…

    1. FTN = frequent transit network = 15 minutes or better 7am-7pm 7 days per week.

      It’s the core of the new network.

    1. If you wanna have a fun time, read the Facebook comments for this article on the Herald’s Facebook page.

  7. Why do AT own any long term carparks? I can almost see a reason to own short term carparks and provide them cheap to encourage people to shop in the city – but long term?

    1. Good question. Historically because retailers demanded parking be supplied by Council…. Hard to see how long term helps retail though.

    2. The Auckland City Council built carparks in the mistaken belief that the market would fail to provide them. They built even more of them 10 years ago when the expanded the Downtown and Victoria St buildings and leased out more spaces. They continue to offer a sweet little subsidy to encourage more cars onto the roads at the busiest time of the day through the earlybird discount and at the park and ride stations they provide free all day parking provided you get there before the morning peak starts. Get there once the peak starts and you will have to stay on the motorway and drive into town. Clearly their objective is to get as many people as possible onto the roads at the same time each morning. They are quite successful at this.

      1. I don’t think the Council built carparks in the mistaken belief that the market would provide them. It was a policy decision to provide efficient, managed and progressively priced carparking, so that they could justify forbidding carparks in private CBD buildings. This was overturned before the 87 crash by Graham Dickson when the pressure came on from the wide boys who wanted their own carparks in their own buildings. The Council then followed the market and reversed its pricing policy – earlybird discounts rather than encouraging short-stay daytime use, etc.

        1. I dont think you are right there John. The Council set out to build carparks in the early 1960’s as they perceived lack of parking as the threat to the future of the CBD see the NZ On Air video here from 1960. The parking restrictions as I understand it came in later from pressure by the ARA against the wishes of ACC (at least that is what Graham told me) There was always a prohibition on Queen St but that was to protect frontages. The Council allowed a number of dispensations to the rules to encourage building in the CBD. How many of the late 80’s buildings would have occurred if they had no parking? The only one I can think of that didnt have any was the reserve bank building and some of that remained unleased for almost a decade. As you will remember the Council of that period put Vern in as director to get building happening and allowed all sorts of bonuses including dodgy art works in foyers as a justification for more floor area.

        2. No you are still older than me John! I was the young guy in the office then, A traffic engineer called John P but there are too many other with those initials posting here.

        3. Patrick I think the point is you can limit parking and if you have good public transport like CRL and bus lanes then you will still get development. If you limit parking without good PT then the development goes somewhere else. There was no point restricting parking in the hope that it would help PT. The PT improvements have to come first.

        4. Largely agree, although both together is probably even better. Transit is improving radically now, so the time is coming to start moving the push levers as the pulls are added. Starting to to get wary of the chorus of ‘yes we can do that when the CRL is open’ especially from within AT. Yet our best chance for getting even a start on the CRL is rising ridership in the shorter term. Chicken and egg.

        5. That is the bit that isn’t fair about the Governments postion. CRL will increase employment in the CBD. Expecting employment first without some way for people to get there makes no sense.

  8. Should we be prioritising commercial enterprise (loading, construction) over workers? Not sure that this is fair or equitable; loaders and construction companies are commercial enterprises. They shouldn’t be prioritised over the working class. Neither should taxis. Let’s remember that subsidising capitalism is just pork-barrel politics and I don’t want my city doing that.

    As for the “earlybird” issue, I both agree and disagree. I need to be in town by 6am, and as such public transport doesn’t work for me. Either I have to get up at 4:30am or I arrive at 6:15am. So, I’d be supportive of “true” Earlybird e.g. before 7am but getting rid of it altogether means I end up paying a lot more without AT providing me with an equivalent PT service.

    I also like the no parking on arterials, but why link it just to buses? It should be a clearway 24/7, and of those 24hrs, 6hrs a day (6-9 and 3-6) should be dedicated buslanes only.

    Criticising the Avondale P&R – the Avondale P&R might actually get me using the train! It’s a 1.2km walk from my house to Avondale Station, but I’d be very willing to drive there. A 1.2km walk, however, takes longer than my entire morning commute.

    Remember, the purpose has to be to minimise commute times OVERALL. Don’t “stick” until you have provided a “carrot.” If you want to make it harder to drive then you have to provide a PT alternative of equal speed.

    Also, when it comes to pricing, remember that $13/day may give AT a better ROI than commercial investors; they may get higher usage and thus more revenue.

    1. > I also like the no parking on arterials, but why link it just to buses? It should be a clearway 24/7, and of those 24hrs, 6hrs a day (6-9 and 3-6) should be dedicated buslanes only.

      If it’s a clearway 24/7, why would it only be bus lanes 6 hours a day in peak times? There’s already a few (short) stretches that work like that, and there doesn’t seem to be any good reason for that setup. If it’s quiet enough that buses don’t need the lane off-peak, then obviously the cars don’t need it either, and having it be bus lane 24/7 is simpler for everyone. Plus, at times when there aren’t many buses, the bus lanes can at least double as an effective part-time bike lane.

      The only reason I can see to have bus lanes that aren’t 24/7 is so that they can share with parking.

      1. Having four lanes makes crossing the road much harder and makes the road feel more like a main highway to pedestrians and cyclists. If two of those lanes only have the occasional bus (non peak) it is much nicer.

      2. I agree with that too, these time based rotations add to the confusion and are not usually needed. I also think that there’s big gains in safety and efficiency in having cars and buses (especially) stick to one lane the whole way instead of trying to weave their way through to pick the fastest lane.

  9. One other point (which may seem silly!)

    If we are already modelling flatline/declining driving volumes, why do we need to do anything to further deincentivise driving?
    Seems like picking a political battle for no good reason. Let inertia take over.

    1. If driving volumes are declining, then removing parking isn’t “deincentivising” driving at all. It’s simply responding to those changes.

    2. It’s also about not continuing to subsidise people to drive in by undercutting private operators, not continuing to subsidise people who drive in during the peak, early bird should end at 7am, and providing for road space to be used by other modes such as cycling rather than simply storage of cars.

      1. The T3 on Onewa Road states at 6.30 so that is what AT considers peak for that purpose. Therefore early bird parking finishing at 7am sounds reasonable.

        Or maybe an extra special early shift discount such that if you leave the Carpark before 3pm, it is even cheaper.

        To get special deals, payment should be by Hop, otherwise you pay the full cash price.

  10. I know I should make the time to read it first, but the questions I have are: 1. Have they attempted to calculate the number/area of available carparks in town centres both on-street and off-street, but also at kerbside throughout the suburbs, in schools, churches, reserves, etc., and determine the total number/area of carparks that we have in Auckland per car ? 2. Have they read Donald Shoup, particularly on demand pricing ?

  11. The map shows the existing 42 Swanson parks but not the existing 56 Waitakere parks. Why not encourage use of the significant investment in the Waitakere park ‘n ride that AT built in 2011?

  12. I would love to be able to ditch the car and take public transport, except that I start work at 4 am some days. Crank up the cost of parking and it’ll encourage me to rent a car park, and then I’d never bother with the bus. Council need to provide 24 hr PT.

  13. Why on earth are they planning to build a PnR at Smales Farm? Why? Why? Why? It literally couldn’t be easier to get to by PT or bike, especially with the RPTP.

    1. Smales Farm needs to be turned into a commercial hub – continuing with more buildings, not more car parks.

    2. They gave assurances at the Busway hearing and appeal that park and ride would never happen at Smales Farm. So much for that!

  14. I believe a high rise residential building is also planned for Smales Farm. That makes sense.

    But a park n ride? What is the purpose? My bet is that it will fill up before the Albany PnR with people who drive from beyond Albany. That would surely represent a stroke of genius.

    More efficient bus feeder services to Smales is the answer and from the seaward side there seems little reason that these couldn’t run at 10 minute frequency providing a wonderful service.

    The Northern bus way is so well patronised that surely rates could come down to drive patronage, particularly off peak.

    The very small Akoranga PnR is often populated by those parking and walking to AUT. A $40 discouragement seems reasonable to me.

    1. It must be very expensive real estate. If there is no, or a low parking charge then it’s a massive subsidy. Social welfare for cars.

    2. Strange. When I had a car Akoranga was tge only station where I could reliaBly get a short stay park

    1. But the number of bone-headed comments on the feedback page is… sadly predictable.

      We have a lot of work to do to make people understand just how short-sighted current parking policies are…

  15. Where are those 23 car parks at Pukekohe? I counted over 150 cars parked in the vicinity of the Pukekohe Station at noon today. This involved kerb-side parking on streets to the east of the station and about 35 on the shopping land near the temporary steel bridge crossing to the Pukekohe side of the railway line.
    (I note these parks will be much less popular when the temporary bridge is removed).

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