Car parks replace ride-share scheme

Proposed parking to replace Ride share park. ODT graphic.
Proposed parking to replace Ride share park. ODT graphic.

Dunedin's tertiary sector will soon have about 100 new free or lower-cost car-parking spaces, following the demise of what was supposed to be an environmentally sustainable system designed to reduce emissions and take the pressure off parking.

The ride-share system was dumped recently after almost 11 years, after confirmation it was subject to significant abuse, was only marginally successful and could not be easily enforced.

The Dunedin City Council voted to end the scheme in October, and transportation planning staff took their proposals to replace it to the council's planning and environment committee this week.

That involved introducing $1-an-hour, $5-a-day parking to 32 spaces on Cumberland St, and 68 free spaces with a two-hour limit on Cumberland, Clyde and Forth Sts, and Harbour Tce.

The council had already removed about 45 parks from the ride-share scheme.

The ride-share scheme, which had been in place since 2000, had about 145 on-street parking spaces open to staff and students at the University of Otago and the Otago Polytechnic.

The numbers were approximate, transportation planner Emerson Yeoman said this week, because the parks had no line marking. People who wanted to use the system had to register, and were provided with tokens.

The objectives of the scheme included improved options for commuters and a reduced number of single-occupant vehicles, which helped reduce emissions and parking pressure.

However, the scheme was subject to significant abuse, with 41% of users contravening the rules, and while the council tried a variety of methods to deal with the scheme's problems, in the end it ran out of ideas.

A report to the committee from Mr Yeoman said discussions were held with groups including the New Zealand Transport Agency, the Otago Polytechnic and the University of Otago property services division.

Four-hour time-limited free parking was popular with tertiary institutions, but the council argued it was not enforceable, and instead became de facto free all-day parking.

The cloud of controversy that surrounded the council's last attempt at major changes to parking in the city, a 2009 policy that led to a furious campaign by retailers, was not forgotten at the committee meeting.

Cr Syd Brown suggested a trial period, in case similar problems occurred.

Cr Jinty MacTavish hoped the sustainable aspects of the ride-share scheme, which encouraged fewer vehicles travelling to the university, would not be lost.

The committee voted to approve the changes, and that staff would work with the tertiary precinct planning group and users to identify options for improving travel to the area.

A report on this was scheduled for September next year.



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