12 May 2024

Auckland Transport considers exempting Wynyard Quarter from parking increases

4:52 pm on 12 May 2024
A pedestrian bridge that links Auckland's Viaduct to a strip of waterfront restaurants is broken and stuck in the up position.

A pedestrian bridge that links Auckland's Viaduct to a strip of waterfront restaurants is broken and stuck in the up position. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Auckland Transport says it may make Wynyard Quarter exempt from increased street parking costs until the Wynyard Bridge reopens.

The 100-metre long Wynyard crossing pedestrian bridge, which opens and closes for boats to pass and pedestrians to cross, has been stuck in the up position and closed to the public since March.

Last week, it was decided a free ferry would be brought in to take pedestrians across Auckland's Viaduct basin while the bridge remained inoperable.

Auckland Transport (AT) said new CBD street parking costs would see people pay to park overnight, on Sundays and on public holidays.

Overnight charges will be $2 an hour in most parts of the city, and $3 in the most central areas.

In the letter sent to residents, which RNZ had seen, AT had divided the city centre (encompassed by State Highway 1 and SH16) into three different zones - dubbed the City Centre Parking Zone (CCPZ).

However, one central Auckland resident said he would not be able to afford the new on-street parking rates.

St Paul St resident Anil Ramnath said his apartment first heard about them on Friday when they received a letter from AT.

They were all in total shock and disbelief by the amounts it stated, he said.

"It is a significant amount... If you calculate for weekend and overnight charges, it comes to $216 per week. The total adds up to over $11,000 per year."

None of the affected residents Ramnath had spoken to had any prior notice or consultation with AT before getting the letter.

In a statement, an AT spokesperson said, "Paid parking will be extended to apply overnight, on Sundays and public holidays. The new overnight charges will be between $2 and $3 an hour, depending on the location.

"These changes are as per our letter of expectation to increase revenue from parking."

The letter referred to was the one penned in December 2022 by Mayor Wayne Brown to AT's chair.

"One key area Auckland Transport should investigate is increasing revenue from parking. Currently, Auckland Transport is undercutting market rates for parking, which is not appropriate in this environment," Brown wrote at the time.

But the rates in the letter were far higher than those charged by commercial carparks, Ramnath said.

"It's a huge discrepancy... Commercial carparks charge about $300 per month for 24-hour, seven-day per week parking."

RNZ has looked at three Wilson parking buildings within the new Green Zone, where Ramnath's St Paul St apartment was located.

  • Wakefield Street charged $3 per 20 minutes on the weekend, up to a maximum of $9, valid until 6am the next day.
  • 450 Queen Street charged $5 per 30 minutes on the weekend, or $10 for 12 hours.
  • Whitaker Place charged $7 per 30 minutes on the weekend, or $17 for 12 hours.

In comparison, the letter Ramnath received said it would cost $2.50 per hour for the first two hours, then $4 for each additional hour to park on his street on the weekend.

If someone were to park for 10 hours during the day on the weekend, the total cost would be $37.

"I understand what they're trying to achieve, but the changes they're trying to apply will mostly affect residents who park on their streets overnight and on public holidays," Ramnath said.

"It's not fair on people who live there."

Residents should be eligible for a overnight exemption if they could prove their address, he said.

He and his flatmates had emailed the address listed in the AT letter asking for more information.

When Herald on Sunday asked Brown if he knew about the fee changes this weekend, he said no.

But he was quoted as saying: "[AT] have got to start listening... I did tell them the other day, 'Don't do that, I want a full parking strategy'."

The new central parking zone was one of the ways AT was addressing "cost challenges", the AT spokesperson said.

"It is also part of work to make better use of the road space we have. Parking in the city centre is very limited, and this will ensure parks are available for those who need them most."

Ramnath believed it may push people to live elsewhere.

"I guess people who have a car will choose to move out of the city. I'm a working professional as well and I don't believe anyone can afford to pay this big of an amount to stay in the city and park a car in the city.

"There'll be a mass exodus of people leaving the city, finding elsewhere to stay."

AT said the changes would come into effect on 1 July, but it was considering delaying their introduction to Wynyard Quarter until the bridge was operating again.

All paid council parking in town centres and other paid parking zones was being reviewed, it said.

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