Time to stop blaming and fix parking, AA says

The recent changes to parking in Dunedin were done with good intent, but the unpredictable changes to drivers' behaviour meant it was time to drop the name-calling and fix the problem, Automobile Association Otago District Council vice-chairman Jack Crawford said yesterday.

Mr Crawford said he had spoken to one city business owner who was "distraught" about the effect on her business, and that problem was a city-wide issue.

"Something has to be done."

When the association had made submissions on the strategy, it had foreseen problems, and argued "more or less, if it ain't broke, don't fix it", he said.

At the time, with oil prices high, arguments about reducing car use had some merit.

But the ramifications for business were too severe.

The council had "dug a big hole" for itself, but the time for naming and shaming was over, he said.

Council reports on the parking strategy last year noted a move towards travel demand management, through limiting parking or increasing charges to make driving less attractive, and promoting more sustainable transport options like public transport.

Mr Crawford said the association was keen to be involved in any solution.

"Dunedin's unique lifestyle" had to be maintained, he said and "the private car is part of that".

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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