Big changes ahead for parking
October 9, 2008
Big changes ahead for parking
Waitakere City Council will seek community views on options to change the way car parking provisions are catered for in its town centres and growth corridors.
A report considered by the council’s Policy and Strategy Committee highlighted concern that current parking policies would not support medium and high density development plans in town centres.
“Any plans for parking need to result in thriving high density town centres” says committee chairperson Penny Hulse.
“The idea is to get developers to think about how many car parks they really need and whether car parking is really the best use of available land and to consider the availability of public transport in those areas.
“The current approach has aimed to accommodate parking without regard to the availability of other travel choices, the impacts on development or the ability to share parking,” she says. “We need more efficient use of land in our town centres to accommodate future growth.”
Three options have been developed for public comment.
The first retains the existing minimum parking requirements but would give the council more flexibility to allow less parking than prescribed.
A second but more restrictive option is to introduce maximum parking levels, which over time would reduce the number of car parks that could be provided on a particular site. This would only apply to areas where high levels of public transport services are available. This is the option proposed in the Auckland Regional Council’s Draft Regional Parking Strategy.
However, the council indicated its preference for a third option, which would introduce parking maximums set at around the current minimum number of parks allowed. This option would also give officers flexibility to grant an exception by allowing more parks if they can be justified by the developer and if it supports the town centre goals. Examples of businesses which may require parking in excess of the maximum are supermarkets, malls and bulk retail stores.
“This approach would send a clear message that the applicants need to assess the level of parking they require and if it is above the maximum allowed, they need to justify that to the council,” says Councillor Hulse.
The council acknowledges that this approach could lead to a reduction in parking in some centres but these would need to occur alongside improvements to bus and rail services. A greater emphasis on managing parking in town centres and the effects on surrounding areas will be required.
It is expected that electric trains and feeder bus services to town centres will be in place by 2013. At that stage, new District Plan rules could allow this new approach to parking to take effect.
During the next two months the council will engage in informal consultation with stakeholders, including the public, on the overall approach to parking across the city.
That information will form the basis of Draft Parking Plans for the city and the main town centres, scheduled to go out for formal consultation in April next year.