City councillor Terry Molloy is trying to bring pedestrians back into the central city by driving up long term parking prices.
In a Notice of Motion being presented at the city council meeting today, he's suggesting the parking in the Tauranga CBD Zone 1, be free for the first two hours – and $6 an hour after that.
If accepted by fellow councillors it will mean commuters parking in the central city will be paying $36 a day for parking instead of $6 a day for off-street parking at present, a maximum of $6 on street in the CBD, or $12 in a parking building.
He also suggests discarding the ‘free after three' regime currently in effect and extending parking charges until 5pm.
Terry says his Notice of Motion seconded by councillor Rick Curach addresses the issue of decreasing foot traffic in the CBD.
“It seeks to take urgent action in respect of relief measures to assist the businesses of Tauranga CBD and their customers who are finding the CBD transformation process is creating real difficulties,” says Terry.
“There is strong evidence that difficulty in parking is directly contributing to a reduction in the foot count, and meaningful alternative means of transport are some years away.”
The notice directs council staff to investigate the merits of the directions and report back on November 27.
Along with the increased all-day parking he's suggesting council staff investigate providing park and ride services ferrying commuters who park at Sulphur Point, Memorial Park, Dive Crescent, the Gate Pa Bowling Club – and any other appropriate parking opportunities around the CBD.
“The park and ride is aimed at commuter vehicles from the CBD. At a minimum the shuttle service should operate during the rush hour peak period,” says Terry.
The city should also be actively encouraging ride sharing by promoting ride sharing apps, and partnering with Mainstreet to investigate the free use of buses to shopping precincts.
Higher vehicle occupancy can also be encouraged by allowing vehicles with at least three passengers to park free or at a reduced rate in off street car parks within the vicinity of the CBD.
It's important for the city council to support regional the partners NZTA, Western BOP District Council and BOP Regional Council in their endeavours to reduce car dependency, says Terry.
“However the community cannot be left behind. At this point I think we have done just that.”
Other suggestions for discussion include moving the Spring Street car parking building leased parks to the top levels, with the leased parks charged for by the number of hours they are required.
For example if a car park is leased from 8.30am till 5pm, the rest of the time it is available to the public.
Options for temporary parking should be explored including the unused car parks at the southern end of The Strand Reclamation – parking spaces that have been appropriated by the council for staff vehicles.
These parks will become available when the council staff move to Cameron Road in the new year.