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  1. Patrick Morgan, 27. June 2020, 17:07

    I agree with most of this.
    But streets have two main functions: movement and place.
    Our streets are also shared public spaces where people can meet, linger, sit, trade, be.
    Check out healthystreets.com

  2. John M, 27. June 2020, 21:29

    The problem with this philosophy, (noble as it is), is what I experienced first hand today. Reality! Where was everyone? It seemed to me they were shopping in Petone, in Hutt City, and in Porirua. Why? Free parking provided on the retailers’ sites. The big box retailers were having a ball! The traffic jams going to and in the Hutt Valley were extraordinary. Have a look at the next retail spend figures, I’m sure you will find Petone, Hutt City, Porirua, all – way up. Wellington CBD way down. Work it out.

  3. IanS, 27. June 2020, 22:03

    Well said Sam.
    I hope councillors were listening, and take action.
    Cars and on-street parking are killing this city. We need to move to an improved rapid mass transit system PLUS the improvements to pedestrianise the Golden Mile with only local shopper buses feeding the transport hubs.

  4. Clementine Smith, 27. June 2020, 23:05

    John M is correct, driving to the Hutt today it was bumper to bumper. I no longer shop in Wellington as it is impossible to park. It is much easier to park in the Melbourne CBD than Wellington. With many businesses looking to reduce their rental footprint in Wellington, is Manners Mall the blue print going forward?

  5. Martin, 28. June 2020, 6:42

    Let’s have ‘user pays’ cycling. Too much is provided ‘free’ to cyclists and the decay in central Wellingon is clear to see.

  6. TrevorH, 28. June 2020, 9:10

    More half-baked ideology versus pragmatism and experience. If you want to kill off the CBD and drive people out of Wellington this is the way to do it. I no longer go anywhere near the CBD, it is just too difficult.

  7. Lindsay, 28. June 2020, 9:21

    I do not agree that it’s impossible to park in the CBD. On almost every day of the week, there’s plenty of parking on the side streets off Tory Street, and at the top of Cuba Street and Willis Street, and on Kent and Cambridge Terraces. From there, it’s an easy and interesting walk to Lambton Quay (if that’s your destination). Worth noting however that the city’s most successful and popular retail street is Cuba Street, specifically those parts of it that are pedestrian only. It shows the way to how other CBD streets could be improved … But there seem to be people who demand to park immediately outside the doors of wherever they want to go, and who are unwilling to accept the need for five or ten minutes of walking.

  8. Kerry, 28. June 2020, 11:47

    An important reason for parking problems in central Wellington is that parking is too cheap. If on-street parking charges were increased, fewer people would park and there would be spaces available for those who really need them. Drivers could get to a meeting on time or pick up something too heavy to take on a bus. Ideally, about one on-street space in eight should be available, (one on each side, in each block) achieved by varying charges by the time of day.
    Sure, there are ‘half-baked ideology’ claims, but if car-puritans never shop in central Wellington, how can they make valid comparisons?
    Part of the problem is habit. I have experienced a visitor 15 minutes late for a meeting, because he could not find a car park. He could have walked in 8 minutes.
    If we need user-pays cycling, surely we also need user-pays driving? Apart from visitors, all cyclists and all drivers pay rates, either directly or indirectly. And apart from state highways, all roads, footpaths bus lanes and cycle lanes are funded from rates. Cyclists pay a greater share than drivers, because their needs are smaller. Motorists claiming that they pay for roads are fantasising.
    Recent research has shown that most drivers fail to look in places where they could be expected to give way to cyclists, and aggressive, self-centred drivers are much more likely to drive powerful cars.
    The Global Street Design Guide (Wellington City Council is a contributor) shows most cycle lanes bounded by kerbs on both sides, to keep cyclists off the footpath and cars off the cycle path. The Design Guide also gives people-carrying capacities for a 3 metre lane: 8 to 9 thousand an hour on a footpath, 4 to 8 thousand on a busway, 6500 to 7500 on a cycleway and 600-1600 on a motor vehicle lane. A cycle lane can carry about about six times as many people as a private motor vehicle lane. Other benefits are much-improved fitness, safer roads and zero pollution.
    Another inevitable claim is that cycle-lanes are under-used, but this is because few junctions in Wellington are adequately designed for cycle safety. LGWM surveys show a strong desire for safe cycle routes in Wellington.
    Car drivers will benefit from safe cycleways in central Wellington, because they increase the people-carrying capacity of the streets.

  9. John Rankin, 28. June 2020, 17:58

    @JohnM: Let me see if I understand your argument. In Hutt City, mall-owning landlords provide free parking for their retail tenants’ customers. The cost of this “free” parking is bundled into the retailers’ rent. Wellington CBD landlords do not provide free parking for their tenants’ customers. Therefore, you claim, it is WCC’s job to provide parking, subsidised at the rate-payers’ expense.

    @TrevorH is right that this is an ideological question. Why is the private sector unwilling or unable to provide CBD parking? Could it be because the private sector can’t compete with the subsidised parking prices that WCC charges? In Hutt City, it appears private sector landlords are perfectly capable of doing the job.

    What @TrevorH calls “pragmatism” I call middle class welfare dependency and ratepayer-funded business subsidies.

  10. Ben Schrader, 28. June 2020, 18:32

    Duncan Grieve wrote a very interesting piece last week in The Spinoff about the recently-opened Commercial Bay shopping mall at the bottom of Auckland’s Queen Street. It has been flooded with customers, far exceeding all expectations. What makes it different from the bog-standard suburban mall is that it provides no car parking, but it is located opposite the Britomart train and bus stations and the ferry terminal is across the road. People are therefore encouraged to use public transport and then their feet to get there. Grieve suggests that such developments – with their focus on hospitality venues over traditional chain shops – are the future of CBD shopping.

    I’d argue that this is true for Wellington as well. By making CBD streets more pedestrian-friendly and easier to get to by public transport, cycling and walking, the city can offer a different and more diverse experience to that provided in the suburban malls. Certainly, this will not appeal to those who depend on their cars to get them to wherever they want to go, but such people can continue to head to the Hutt Valley to park and shop. But for those of us who seek more places like Cuba Mall or a future Wellington Commercial Bay-type development hopping on a bus to get to town will be no problem at all.

  11. Michael Barnett, 28. June 2020, 20:47

    Well said Sam. Unlike the nay sayers, I would much prefer to live in a city that is designed for people, not their cars.

  12. John M, 28. June 2020, 21:54

    All sounds great for you Ben and others but I think the scoreboard will tell us who’s thriving. And who’s facing the wall! Do pop down to your snappy little cafe and discuss cycling, saving the Basin and the horrors of the motor car. My pick is that while you are talking, thousands will be driving to Bunnings, Mitre 10, Kmart and the like in Hutt, Petone and Porirua.

  13. Traveller, 29. June 2020, 8:02

    John M. If you and “thousands” are driving to the Hutt or Porirua in search of free parking outside shops – you should think again about what you’re spending on petrol and you should look again at the reality of what’s available in the Wellington CBD. Free parking outside the Warehouse and Noel Leeming in Tory Street. Free parking at Moore Wilson’s in College Street. Free parking outside Bunnings in Tory Street. Free parking outside Briscoes in Taranaki Street. Free parking outside Chaffers New World in Wakefield Street. What more do you want? Save petrol! Save time! Shop local!

  14. CC, 29. June 2020, 8:14

    John M, why would people drive to the Hutt, Petone and Porirua the few times a year they may need to to go to Mitre10, Bunnings or Kmart and the like when they can make similar purchases in Wellington, not only by car but also by public transport? If the size of the purchases is too large to carry, most of the ‘big box’ outfits have affordable delivery arrangements.

  15. Sarah Morgan-Brown, 29. June 2020, 9:54

    Parking isn’t a means of transport, which is why it isn’t listed in the priority chain. Parking means a place to put your vehicle when not you are not using it. Trucks, vans, buses bikes, cars, motorbikes all require ‘parking’. It is a bit narrow minded to think that parking only refers to private vehicles. A bike is a private vehicle and requires parking when riders are at work and play.

  16. greenwelly, 29. June 2020, 14:08

    @Ben Schrader. > What makes it different from the bog-standard suburban mall is that it provides no car parking
    But that’s not to say it’s devoid of access to lots of existing (and quite cheap off peak) parking, in fact it advertises parking – tThe Downtown carpark provides undercover access to Commercial Bay …. Valet Parking coming soon.”

  17. PCGM, 29. June 2020, 14:27

    While it’s hard to argue with the cold hard economic logic that people should pay the full costs of their parking, the challenge is that it will disproportionately impact the people who can least afford it – continuing the trend of turning Wellington into a city you can only live in if you’re rich.

    Let’s say you’re living in a Karori flat and working one of the less-desirable shifts at the hospital, where you’re managing better than the minimum wage but less than the median income. Your shifts mean that the buses don’t always run at the right time, so a car of some description is the only safe and reliable way to get to and from work when you’re travelling late at night.

    Sam Donald’s proposed approach is car sharing, which the rest of us know as Uber – and a one-way trip from Karori to the hospital using that mechanism will cost at least $20, assuming you can avoid surge pricing. And assuming half the trips for work are viable on public transport, then there’s the need for at least five Uber trips a week, 48 weeks a year, costing $4,000+ per annum. That’s a pretty big hole in the after-tax income.

    And that hole is a whole lot bigger than buying and running a cheap car. Plus, the car can reduce the expensive bus fares, mean that the supermarket shopping is vastly easier and less time consuming, and provides a whole measure of independence in the weekends for seeing friends and family and just plain getting out of town.

    Which is not to say that all those other activities can’t be done by public transport and biking and hopping on an e-scooter; they possibly can. But the issue is that they all cost more money and take more time than someone earning not much money living in a flat in Karori working an essential job at unsociable hours can afford.

    So for some people in the central city, the FIT Wellington proposals will definitely improve their quality of life. But for other people whose quality of life more depends on getting to and from work safely and easily and at minimum cost, then making on-street parking unaffordably expensive for reasons of philosophic purity will definitely make their lives worse. And no amount of hand-waving about sustainable transport hierarchies seems likely to change that.

  18. Kerry, 29. June 2020, 16:14

    PCGM. Why should car-sharing mean only Uber? Why not make arrangements with two or more colleagues living in broadly the same area? One person can always drive, and the others pay an agreed amount. Alternatively, each can take turns, driving their own car.
    Or a safe cycleway from Karori would be cheaper still, with zero emissions. Don’t forget that car emissions kill more people than car crashes (do drivers contribute to costs? of course not). If buying and running a cheap car is an option, that is because cars are subsidised (see my note above): bring on user-pays driving.
    Poor people who need car parks but cannot afford them are a standard excuse, trotted out by people who can afford them. Another option would be wealthy drivers in powerful, thirsty cars paying levies to support poor people’s use of economical cars.
    In many cases the best option would be buses, but that is impractical until GWRC can be persuaded to offer quality bus services, competing with cars. At present, GW has conflicting bus-service objectives, and puts most of its services on low-revenue routes. Unsurprisingly, that pushes up fares, which have to meet half of running costs.

  19. Northland, 29. June 2020, 17:22

    What’s the problem with parking in residential suburbs Kerry ? I thought this was more about freeing up space in the central city for buses etc. Removing parking spaces in the golden mile and bus corridors makes sense. It would give us a more pedestrian friendly city and room for bus lanes. Removing parking spaces in dormitory suburbs makes no sense.

  20. John M, 29. June 2020, 18:54

    Wonderful response, incredible logic everyone. I was commenting initially on the unbelievable amount of traffic I struck in the weekend while going to Seaview Marina, then attempting to get to hunting and fishing in the Hutt Valley. Why they were all there and not cycling to our CBD, I really don’t know. Why was I not taking public transport or cycling to Seaview Marina. I’m 72 and live in Khandallah and wanted to get there on Saturday not next Tuesday. Why will we see the same problem next weekend?

  21. Mike Mellor, 29. June 2020, 19:44

    PGCM/Kerry: Uber is not car share: car share means short-term self-drive rental, such as Mevo or Cityhop; or car pooling, where one of the occupants travelling anyway provides and drives the car. Uber is completely different, basically the same as a taxi (only without all the safeguards).

    greenwelly: Commercial Bay does advertise parking, and on the same webpage it advertises public transport. But it doesn’t provide parking, whether “free” (i.e. included in the prices customers pay, whether they park or not) or paid. That’s the fundamental difference.

    Sarah M-B: parking normally just refers to private cars because they are by far the majority occupants and take up by far the most road space (which could be used for other purposes). Sure bikes need parking, but just look at the number of bikes that fit into the bike park on Grey St: 59 bike spaces where previously there were one or two cars.

  22. Ben Schrader, 29. June 2020, 21:45

    Few people would disagree with PCGM that Wellington City must avoid becoming an enclave for the rich. But it doesn’t follow that removing more carparks from inner city streets would lead to that outcome. If the hospital worker from Karori wants to buy a cheap car to get to Newtown no-one will stop him/her from doing so, although by the time you add on weekly petrol, rego, third party insurance and periodic maintenance costs even cheap cars can end burning a hole in one’s wallet.

    But it might also be the case that if public transport ran more regularly and for longer the Karori worker might prefer to get a bus to work. And what if the same worker could rent a flat in a new medium density and affordable housing development along Adelaide Rd, then he/she could walk to work and shop at the supermarket on the way home.

    My point is that there are more ways to create a socially just city than making sure workers have a place to park their car. It’s about providing them with homes near their workplaces, or good public transport options to get them there, as well as nearby urban amenities which allow them to pursue safe and active lives. This is not a utopian dream; it was Wellington a century ago.

  23. Sam Donald, 29. June 2020, 21:58

    PCGM: “car sharing, which the rest of us know as Uber” – it has taken Mike Mellor to point out what a google search for “car share wellington” could have told you. Hopefully WCC will make a greater effort to promote car share as a sustainable cog in Wellington’s transport options so that the term becomes ubiquitous and its meaning well understood by the masses. FIT certainly aren’t suggesting that Wellingtonians commute to and from their places of work by Uber – on a regular basis that would be ridiculous in terms of cost, congestion, fuel use and efficiency of human labour. We aren’t even suggesting that Wellingtonians should commute by car share (eg. MEVO) on a regular basis. What we are suggesting is that the more road space that is reallocated to walking, cycling, scootering, motorcycling, public transport (buses and mass rapid transit) the more those means of transport will become fast, safe and attractive. We aren’t suggesting that car share will eliminate all private ownership of cars either, but would like to see it elevated to a point that no-one has to walk more than a reasonable distance to find one, as that might mean they decide not to purchase that second (or third) car or possibly even their first car – certainly a possibility in the CBD and central suburbs, or on very well served public transport routes. We certainly aren’t suggesting that your friend in Karori should be denied the right to park their car at home or at work – but if they live directly on an arterial route and don’t have off-street parking they might have to walk around the corner to their car and their employer, the hospital, might need to build a multi-storey car park so that at either end of their journey their parked car isn’t unnecessarily restricting traffic flow on a public road.

    Sarah Morgan-Brown: We don’t consider parking to only be about private vehicles, and that is why one of the points we are trying to make is that car share should be considered a hybrid between a public and a private vehicle and the parking of it on road space should be prioritised over and above the parking of private cars, primarily because it is so much more space efficient at a city level. As Mike Mellor points out, that inefficiency of space (compared to motorbikes, scooters and bicycles) is why we are focused here on the parking of cars. That and the fact that cars also take up a lot of space while moving and our road network is already congested. We need space to be dedicated to public transport and active transport and some of the existing cars, and many of our yet-to-be future residents’ cars (should they choose to own them) need to be parked intelligently to allow the city to function efficiently and sustainably.

    Northland: Yes, it is primarily about the central city, but also arterial routes and suburban centres. If Wellington can one day move away from the current rates of car ownership, then all sorts of possibilities might eventuate for other uses of the space in the suburbs in residential streets – there are many stories of how communities took back their streets during lockdown and reluctantly gave them back to cars when normal returned.

  24. Dave B, 30. June 2020, 22:18

    Parked cars on suburban arterials are a menace for cyclists unless the road is very wide. Cyclists need to give parked cars a wide berth to avoid the ever-present risk of colliding with a carelessly-opened door. But this forces cyclists out into the stream of moving traffic which is totally not desirable for either. A typical 10-metre wide road is reduced to about half this usable-width if cars are parked on both sides and the door-swing-zone is taken into account. And it is made worse if they are poorly-parked or are big fat SUV’s. Cyclists feel safest where they can ride close in to the kerb and traffic can pass them without conflict. Having to pull out around parked cars greatly increases risk and stress-levels.

    I would say roads less than 12m wide should either be no-parking, parking on one side only, or else limited to 30Km/h.

  25. Kerry, 1. July 2020, 10:39

    Northland – On my residential street there are plenty of parking problems. It is a bus route on a winding road, and both buses and cars are often delayed. Some drivers routinely park on the sole footpath, leaving too little space for a wheelchair and often no space at all. Who should be held responsible if a pedestrian walking in the road is hit by a car?
    Thinking about transport is changing very quickly, and is certainly needed. Why are situations like this permitted? New Zealand is a car-dependent nation — plenty of pollution and congestion — when far cheaper and more effective solutions are well-established in many other cities.
    LGWM studies report the bus drivers on the golden mile are often delayed by illegal parking. Why does the Regional Council not have a system where drivers make a radio report and a tow truck is sent in?

  26. Northland, 1. July 2020, 19:50

    @Kerry. Wellington is hilly, windy and rainy. Cars in one form or another are here to stay. What might change is firstly a move to EVs which will cut down the pollution, and secondly a move to a shared car ‘on demand’ service which will cut down on parking. Self driving cars might emerge at some point also, but I wouldn’t like to put a timeframe on that one. So there is hope after all for both pollution and parking problems.

    Major bus routes should be the priority for curtailing parking, so that additional bus lanes can be provisioned to speed up the bus services and encourage greater patronage.

  27. Kerry, 2. July 2020, 9:07

    Northland. Hilly, windy and rainy, so what? Electric bikes, or more exercise, can fix the hills, and weather need not be a problem. The real problem is bad overcoats.
    Of course cars are here to stay, but not to dominate, clog, kill and injure.

  28. John Rankin, 2. July 2020, 10:02

    Let me explore @PCGM’s comment a bit further. One of the underlying assumptions of the suggested parking policy is that it leads to more transport choices for more people, so that the person living in Karori and working at the hospital actually has more than one affordable choice. I support PCGM’s assertion that transport choice should not be a privilege exclusive to the rich.

    For example, better bus service from Karori to the city centre (more frequent, more reliable, more priority lanes) would attract more people onto the buses and improve the car journey from Karori to the hospital.

    Is PCGM aware that DHBs will subsidise up to half of the cost of an e-bike for their staff? Perhaps buying a subsidised e-bike may be a better option than buying a cheap and possibly unreliable car. If the hospital does not provide sufficient parking for its staff who work shifts, are they really being a good employer? Wouldn’t it be better for the employer to improve its behaviour rather than relying on WCC to fill the void?

    In the long run, when rapid transit runs past the hospital, with affordable medium-density transit-oriented development around the stations, perhaps the Karori resident may choose to live on the rapid transit line. I am familiar with cities where most shift workers at hospitals use public transport to and from work because it’s affordable, safe and reliable, at all hours.

    In my view, it’s better to empower lives-in-Karori-works-at-the-hospital to make informed trade-offs among viable options, rather than trying to compensate for the absence of choice. To make room for more transport choices in Wellington, it appears to me the best option is to reallocate on-street parking space, because there is so much of it. If you want to rebalance a budget, you start by looking for savings in the biggest line item. Space allocated to cars is far and away the biggest line item in the urban street-space budget.

  29. Groggy, 2. July 2020, 17:40

    @ Kerry, “LGWM studies report the bus drivers on the golden mile are often delayed by illegal parking. Why does the Regional Council not have a system where drivers make a radio report and a tow truck is sent in?” They aren’t there long enough to get towed, it’s mostly people/ubers pulled over in the bus lane to pickup and dropoff, so the drivers are still in the car and gone before a towtruck would be there. Love your optimism that weather isn’t a problem. No Overcoat yet invented would get me on a bike at the moment

  30. Northland, 2. July 2020, 19:47

    Kerry – good you agree that cars are here to stay. The future is bright. People are enabled to use scooters, bikes and e-bikes (more bike lanes), buses (more bus lanes) and light rail (even, we wish!) as and where appropriate. They can make their own choices including owning a car.

  31. Cr Daran Ponter, 2. July 2020, 21:31

    @ Kerry. The Regional Council has no authority over the use of road space – that is a function of the Road Controlling Authority, which for Lambton Quay is WCC.

  32. Kerry, 3. July 2020, 13:07

    Agreed, but in practice the unofficial Road Controlling Authority is LGWM. This is made clear on GW’s public transport website.

    Some illegally parked vehicles will go before a tow-truck arrives, but that does not mean they cannot be prosecuted. A camera built into the front of the bus would be enough.

  33. Darwin, 13. July 2020, 19:32

    On point!