1 Dec 2023

Restricted parking near Wellington Hospital, surrounding suburbs still set to go ahead

8:45 pm on 1 December 2023
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The draft plan will determine who can park where in residential streets in Berhampore and Newtown, and for how long (file image). Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

A parking plan to restrict parking near Wellington Hospital and surrounding suburbs is still set to go ahead, despite strong opposition.

The draft plan - which is designed to better manage parking pressures - will determine who can park where in residential streets in Berhampore and Newtown, and for how long.

Over half of those who responded to consultation on the plan oppose or strongly oppose it - with many of the concerns coming from healthcare workers.

City councillors made several amendments to the draft plan at Thursday's Environment and Infrastructure Committee.

These included making parking changes Monday to Friday only, rather than seven days a week, changing the proposed P120 parking spaces to P180 so people can park for up to three hours (8am to 8pm) instead of two without a resident parking permit.

The plan will also delay changes near the hospital side of the suburb until mid-2025 to monitor how the scheme works.

Council staff will liaise with Wellington Regional Hospital to investigate leasing 50 to 60 on-street car parks on the hospital side of Mein Street for exclusive use by hospital staff as a transitionary solution.

Final decisions on the plan will be made in March 2024.

A New Zealand Nurses' Organisation member who spoke to RNZ said they were extremely disappointed the council was going ahead with the plan.

"I know multiple people that have said they would resign if this were to go ahead."

They said that parking is already an issue in the area.

"In my job I work 12 hour shifts and I have to get to work usually at least 45 minutes before I start, but I know other nurses and healthcare workers that have to get there an hour early to find a park."

Newtown Residents' Association President Rhona Carson overall liked the plan but was frustrated by the delay to changes for Newtown East.

"It's not a new problem, and there's been an opportunity ever since the parking policy was published in 2020 for the hospital to work out some better solutions on their side."

Carson believed the status quo could stay the same.

"For a great many years there's been extreme pressure on parking that makes it difficult for anyone just coming for a short visit or people who live here to find a vacant space."

Councillor Tim Brown - who chaired the Environment and Infrastructure Committee on Thursday - said they had tried to get the balance of residents' and workers' needs right - but there would still be another chance for Wellingtonians to have their say.

"There's another round of consultation, so now that we have clarified the plan, people will have another chance to make submissions."

Brown said the council would be putting pressure on the hospital to sort out its parking.

"There's 5000 people who work at the hospital, and not to mention of course the thousands of people who use it for medical purposes, that it's just not appropriate that they can have that facility without providing sufficient off street car parking."

Te Whatu Ora has told RNZ it was looking at suitable parking options for staff and patients, including the viability of a parking building, which will be worked on over the next year.