Parking and walking – trying to solve the problems in Miramar South

by Ian Apperley
The Council has announced a plan to alleviate the parking problems in the Eastern Suburbs. However, there are still questions that remain unanswered.

Local residents are being asked for their opinions on the proposal which aims to reduce conflict over parking in Miramar South by introducing 24-hour time-restricted parking in the area bounded by Calabar Road, Caledonia Street, Devonshire Road, Ellesmere Avenue, Crawford Green and Broadway.

I’ve talked to people and they’ve had two reactions to the news. The first is “does the 24-hour restriction apply to residents as well?” The second: “it’s not a big enough area.”

Well, yes, it does apply to residents who (one presumes) will not be able to park their vehicles outside their property for more than 24 hours. You could get around that by making it a resident-only parking area, but then the residents would have to pay for their street parking. $30 a quarter or $115 for a year.

Chris Calvi-Freeman offers his analysis in the council’s announcement:

He stresses the proximity of the airport is not the only reason for parking pressures … “Other businesses operate in the area and – it’s well-known that a lot more people are working in Miramar these days. It’s a popular place. The general growth in vehicle ownership is also causing local people to compete more vigorously for on-street parking.”

That’s true, but if the Council paid more attention to the local community, they’d discover the businesses that drive the car parking problem are the airport and the rental car companies, and not the movie industry (at least in that area). The movie industry has two major car parks, which are not on the public road, and a shuttle service at peak times to move people about.

Assuming the movie business is part of the issue also defeats the second part of the argument which is that people won’t walk more than 700m to the airport. We know anecdotally this is not true. Because we live here. People regularly walk from the airport to the rental car company in Strathmore – about 1,100m. I have a string of relatives and friends who park in my street when they are going away, because it’s quieter, and more secure. I’m 2,000m from the airport.

Don’t forget that we also have a very busy bus service in and around the airport. Parking a bit further away and grabbing a bus is another option.

So what will happen? People will either park in the 24-hour zone if they are away for a day only, or they’ll park just outside it. It would be interesting to know if there has been any research on just how long cars park in that area on average.

The other thing that the Council seems to have missed on their exclusion zone is that less than 200m from the airport, under the airport tunnel, is a bunch of streets that people can park on as well in Rongotai.

It’s no secret that the reason people park away from the airport is the expensive parking rates. I’ve written about this before. They are quite extreme in the scheme of things, so walking 750m to the airport (which takes about ten minutes) is no hardship. Ten minutes’ walk is nothing in comparison to paying up to $50 for a day’s parking or more. Even the $20 a day park is up to 15 minutes walk away. Why wouldn’t you pay $6 for an Uber and park anywhere you like in Miramar?

I don’t know what the answer is. But I do think the Council has a conflict with itself. Who owns a third of the airport and gets a colossal chunk of cash from it each year? The Wellington City Council. So you could say that putting in a 24-hour time-limit, or other measures, will increase the Council’s profit by forcing people back into the airport car parks. Any action that the Council puts in place will benefit the airport and the Council.

This is called “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” and illustrates the lose-lose situations that local politicians often find themselves in. It’s a beautiful conundrum.
What to do?

I don’t know. I need to think about it. I am interested in hearing what you think, and what you are telling the Council in response to their proposal.


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