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Figures released late last week showed all the council's leased car parks were significantly oversubscribed, including some with waiting lists longer than the number of spaces on offer.
There were 39 leased car parks available at Queens Gardens, for example, but a waiting list of 44 people lining up for the next one to become available.
The Dowling St car park, which offered 61 leased spaces, had a waiting list of 51 people, while the Thomas Burns St car park, which offered 128 spaces, had a waiting list of 46 people.
One motorist who recently contacted the council, trying to obtain a leased space, told the Otago Daily Times he was told his name could not be added to the list because the estimated waiting time was now more than a year.
Council transport group manager Richard Saunders confirmed the decision to stop taking names had been made because of the "significant" waiting list across the city.
Some of the waiting lists moved quickly, while others did not, but "there is a significant wait list on almost every leased area", he said.
"We have had an increase in people looking for a leased park, but it has been in high demand for a period of time. It's not a very recent thing."
The situation emerged amid concern in some quarters about the loss of car parks to other city projects, including separated cycleways and other safety improvements, in the central zone.
The Dunedin initiatives, designed to provide for other forms of "active" transport and their associated benefits for the city, were praised by Transport Minister Phil Twyford during a visit to the city last week.
However, it also emerged last week the council could not say with certainty by how much the supply of car parks in the city had changed in recent years, nor what the occupancy rate of existing car parks was.
Council figures showed there were now 6249 marked car parks of all types in the central city, included unrestricted, time-restricted and per-hour charged parks.
That included 1900 spaces within 500m of George St, Mr Saunders said.
There was also estimated to be space for another 4000 unmarked, unrestricted car parks across the city and its suburbs, but the estimate was a "desktop exercise" and not precise, he said.
But, asked by how much the parking situation had changed over time, Mr Saunders said there was no "accurate figure".
The council had used consultants to run regular parking studies about every four years, between 1989 and 2016. They showed the parking supply hovering between 10,500 and 11,400 spaces throughout the period.
Mr Saunders said the most recent study was now three years old, and further similar work would be needed to accurately gauge the change in parking supply.
The best estimate he could provide was that the number of car parks in the central city was down, probably by about 200 spaces overall. More spaces than that had been lost, but some had been offset by adding new car parks elsewhere, including around North Dunedin's tertiary precinct, in Manor Pl and as part of school safety improvements, he said.
A new parking study next year would feed into work on an integrated transport strategy, which is set to begin in the middle of next year.
Work on the central city plan, including the planned George St upgrade, had already identified the need to help people find available parks, either through signage or mobile phone apps, he said.
The council was only too aware parking could be an "emotive" issue and each change was carefully considered, he said.