Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

All-day free parking in central Auckland suburbs ending

The new residential parking zone in Ponsonby is having a domino effect on nearby Grey Lynn. Picture/Supplied
The new residential parking zone in Ponsonby is having a domino effect on nearby Grey Lynn. Picture/Supplied

The days of central Auckland fringe suburbs becoming free parking lots for commuters are coming to an end, with a new residential parking zone coming into force in Ponsonby and others planned for Grafton and Grey Lynn.

In the past month, the net of residential parking zones has been widened from St Marys Bay and Freemans Bay to include Ponsonby, where many properties are without off-street parking. Mt Eden has a residential parking zone between Mt Eden Rd and Dominion Rd at the city end of the suburb.

Auckland Transport is close to introducing a new residential parking zone in Parnell, consulting on a zone for Grafton and planning one for Grey Lynn - where a domino effect from Ponsonby is already having an impact on parking for residents.

Under the residential parking zone rules, free parking for commuters and shopping is limited to two hours on weekdays from 8am to 6pm. An annual permit or daily coupon for all-day parking are available to residents.

In Freemans Bay people were arriving at 6 in the morning and having breakfast in their cars to park all day for free
Pippa Coom, Waitemata Local Board

Many commuters drive from the outer suburbs to find parks within the one-stage bus or rail trip to the CBD.

Waitemata Local Board chairwoman Pippa Coom said Auckland was following the norm for international cities - "you don't expect to park in the city centre and city fringe for free".

The local board, she said, had been pushing for a rollout of residential parking zones since before the first scheme was introduced in St Marys Bay in 2012.

"In Freemans Bay people were arriving at 6 in the morning and having breakfast in their cars to park all day for free. There were endless complaints from people unable to park near their homes," Coom said.

She said after initial concerns about the cost of residential parking - $70 a year for a permit - residents and businesses wouldn't have it any other way. It had transformed how the streets worked.

Auckland Transport parking services manager John Strawbridge says city fringe residential streets are often overcrowded with commuters parking all day, leaving no room for residents and their visitors.

"In Grafton there are a number of older heritage houses with no off-street parking, and some residents struggle to find a park nearby," he said.

The proposal covers on-street parking in a section of Grafton south of the Auckland City Hospital. It would replace existing restrictions with the exception of bus stops, loading zones, mobility and car share parking, "no stopping at all times" restrictions and the clearway on Grafton Rd.

The proposed charges are $1 per hour for the first two hours, and $2 per hour after this, from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. A residential parking zone would apply to some of the area, where there would be no time limit for how long motorists can park.

In the residential parking zone most residents would be able to apply for permits or coupons to exempt them from the on-street paid parking. Permits cost $70 per year, one-day coupons are $5, both are issued in order of priority to manage available parking.

A public open day to discuss the proposal will be held on Saturday July 15, 9am to 1pm, at the Domain Lodge Hall at 1 Boyle St, Grafton.

For more information on the proposal, including which properties are eligible for permits/coupons, go to: http://at.govt.nz/haveyoursay.

- NZ Herald

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