Feedback to WCC on review of residents’ parking and coupon schemes. See earlier post on 12 September.

The residents’ parking scheme provides parking spaces for residents in areas dominated by commuters and institutions. Residents of specified Thorndon streets are eligible to apply for either a Residents’ Parking Permit or a Coupon Exemption Permit.

There is a high level of demand for parking in Thorndon coupon zones, particularly on streets close to the central city.

Residential Thorndon is a suburb where residents need regulatory assistance to preserve an adequate number of curbside parking spaces. The protection is needed to preserve normal suburban living expectations, especially being able to safely park residents’ vehicles on the street.

Residential Thorndon suffers an onslaught of car park seekers every business day. Thorndon is also the nearest residential suburb to the regional stadium. Therefore residents also need protection from time-to-time from visitors to larger events that fall outside the normal business day onslaught. Local schools and halls also help load the streets with visitors and car park seekers. This can also occur during non-business days, public holidays or weekends when special events occur. The Town Belt and parks, the heritage trails, sports clubs (Bridge clubs, Tennis Club, etc) and the Thorndon tourist attractions can also add to the competition for car parks in residential Thorndon streets during non-business days (weekends, Public Holidays, school holidays).

The Thorndon Residents’ Association seeks solutions which secure parking, 24x7x365 for legitimate residents’ vehicles.

Residents of Thorndon have the same needs to service their properties, and to have independent vehicular access, as any of the other city residential householders situated in other suburbs of Wellington City. Families often have more than one vehicle, and whether there is off-street parking or not there are many scenarios that demand the need for alternate curbside parking for the family car off property, particularly during recreational periods ie weekends when the off-street parking space may be needed for other normal household activity (on-site spaces are not solely for parking vehicles, particularly on smaller sized urban properties). It is also noted that many Thorndon properties may have designated ‘off-street’ parking but the size of these spaces can be too restrictive for larger vehicles so curbside parking is still required because of these realities.

Thorndon residents also need some provision for visitors, like trades people to park and service their properties; or to temporarily park a trailer, for example … a normal weekend activity for DIY residents. Residents of Thorndon expect the same freedoms that other suburban dwellers in the city enjoy.

It is noted that residential Thorndon properties contribute considerably to the city’s rate take. 737 valuation properties in Residential Thorndon provide a rating base valued over $900 million. It is therefore considered fair, in return, to seek from the city some fair protection and priority of access to street parking for residents. There is a high expectation that the city ensure that all legitimate residents of Thorndon have priority consideration for on-street car parking.

Given the considerable collective contribution from residential Thorndon already makes in rates, the Thorndon Residents’ Association is not in favour of fee increases or restrictions on parking permit allowances for legitimate Thorndon residents. Most of the demand for extra street parking in Thorndon does not arise from Thorndon residents. Commuters, visitors and workers at nearby institutions, or patrons of sports events, are the main cause of parking congestion in Thorndon. Therefore the recovery of the costs to regulating street parking must be ascribed to those creating the extra burden and demands ie the commuters and visitors who bring the problem to Thorndon.

The Association also questions whether the city has an appropriate balance between this review and other aspects of the city transport strategy; for example park and ride. Rather than encouraging people to drive vehicles to park in Thorndon and then walk to their office, or school etc, why isn’t the city promoting alternatives, such as parking at a public parking terminal ( in the ‘burbs ) and riding public transport into the city? Perhaps an incentive for this to work would be an increase to the coupon parking fee up to whatever motivating level is necessary to change behaviour.

There also appears to be some devils in the detail of the administration of the current Residents’ parking scheme. Distortions occur with the existing regime. It is particularly noticed in some areas of Thorndon, typically those residential areas that are situated nearer the central areas. Residents in these areas of Thorndon notice that they often can’t find a residents’ car park during business days when the parking spaces should be reserved for residents. Where are all these other permitted cars arriving from? They consume the residents’ parking spaces and they deny legitimate residents from parking within the vicinity of their homes. This suggests there are scheme management problems. People appear to be able to abuse the current scheme.

Submission in Summary:
• Provide priority for legitimate Thorndon residents
• Do not restrict permits for legitimate Thorndon residents
• Do not increase fees for legitimate Thorndon residents; instead focus on dissuading the protagonists (increase the fee differential for them)
• Tighten-up the administration of the scheme; there seems to be some abuse.

Yours sincerely

Carolyn Shields
Lead, Traffic Action Group
Thorndon Residents Association

William Neal
Acting Chair
Thorndon Residents Association