Wellingtonians urged to have their say on council's proposed parking policy



Parking rate hikes have been proposed as one way of dealing with Wellington's increasing car park shortage.


Wellington City councillors will discuss a draft parking policy on Thursday, with hourly rates increases put forward as one way of dealing with future growing demand.


The proposal will be put out for public feedback later this month and continue throughout March.

It will eventually set the guidelines for dealing with increasing demand for car parks amid a continuing decline in council-owned parking spaces.

The number of car parks in Wellington City has decreased in recent years because of earthquake-damaged parking buildings being demolished, on-street parks making way for cycleways and public transport, and the introduction of electric vehicle charging stations.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet is also temporarily housed in the Michael Fowler Centre carpark.

A number of measures have been put forward to deal with the growing pressure on parking, with Wellington's population forecast to grow by up to 80,000 over the next 30 years.

In the central city, hourly rates on parks which are used at least 85 per cent of the time and have low turnover could increase - exponentially after the first three hours - and charging hours could be extended. 

If that doesn't work, rates could be increased again, and the council could enter shared-use agreements with private parking companies.

On key transport routes - which are not defined in the policy - many on-street parks could make way for bus lanes or other public transport vehicles.

That could be achieved by initiatives such as creating peak time clearways, or moving existing parking spaces to side streets where possible.

But that in turn could lead to over-crowding on those streets, with time restrictions and parking charges potentially introduced.

Encouraging greater public transport use or increasing the off-street parking supply would also be considered.

"The council's priority is to improve active and public transport infrastructure to decrease single-occupancy private vehicle use and, therefore, decrease the demand for parking."

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster encouraged as many people as possible to provide feedback on how they wanted the council, and future councils, to deal with parking pressures.

"There will always be pressure on parking space. This document focuses on how we can best use that space."

The council controlled only a small number of the city's parks, with most controlled by private companies, he said.