Dismay continuing over city parking

Virginia Nicholls
Virginia Nicholls
The availability of car parking in Dunedin’s central city (or lack thereof) has been causing dismay and distress for some years now, for residents and businesses alike.

In the Dunedin City Council’s latest Residents’ Opinion Survey, parking was identified as the main cause of resident dissatisfaction. Just 20% of respondents were satisfied with central city parking, while the satisfaction rate with on-street metered parking was 23%. The top priority for survey respondents was the provision of more parking.

This is a critical issue for Dunedin businesses, particularly in light of considerable changes to the CBD over recent years.

While the development of cycleways and the Bus Hub are to be encouraged as ways of increasing cycling and public transport use, they have resulted in the removal of many car parks from the central city — parks that have not been replaced.

Inner city car parking is set to come under even more pressure. The new Dunedin Hospital is an exciting and necessary project, but it is not yet clear what impacts its construction will have on street parking in its vicinity, nor whether patient and visitor car parking will be available on-site.

The new ACC building will be another wonderful addition to the central city, but the impending loss of the Dowling St car park has businesses concerned about reduced access to parking for customers and staff.

Businesses want to know these outcomes are understood and appreciated, and that the council has a plan to make up any parking shortfall in the central city.

A period of public engagement began in July 2020 about looming central city transport system changes as the new Dunedin Hospital and other central city developments take shape. Unsurprisingly, parking was a common theme in the public feedback.

The council is considering options for more all-day commuter parking, including park-and-ride facilities around the edge of the central city. This is great, but we still need adequate parking closer to businesses.

Residents come to town to frequent businesses and it is important this remains appealing for people. Given the lingering effects of Covid-19 restrictions on businesses, it is especially vital to remove as many obstacles as possible to their ongoing viability and success.

Public transport and cycling are not always safe, suitable or feasible alternatives for residents. Public feedback cited inclement weather, hills and unsafe roads as barriers to cycling, and noted that bus routes and timetables were not always going to be convenient.

Dunedin is in the fortunate position of having an increasing population, growing at an average of 1.5% per annum since 2013.

With this in mind, the council’s recently commissioned Dunedin parking roadmap expressed a need for a city-wide parking policy and a central city parking management plan.

However, a plan of action does not appear to be forthcoming, and it seems parking issues will cause residents and businesses further dissatisfaction yet.

 - Virginia Nicholls is chief executive of the Otago Southland Employers’ Association.



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DCC really has its head in the sand when it comes to parking. Do they live in the real world? We need to remember who pushed for these crazy anti-public ideas when we have the next elections, which cannot come soon enough. As it is, people are having to make extra journeys to ferry people about due to the poor parking. Now that's really good for the environment!

But the greens and the DCC already have a parking policy. It is simply to remove as much parking as possible so people will ride on the bus or ride a bike. It is a simple plan made by simple people and everyone knows it simply will not work.

Shops and businesses will gravitate away from the central city to places where shoppers can park their vehicles and manage to get their purchases home.
The imminent destruction of George St will force more businesses out of the city center.

The greens are just myopic, too simple and bound for failure - just as they have been all round the world when they have gained power. But note they never stay in power for long, their policies just don't work.

Dunedin is a southern hill city, ( I am including the outlier villages and towns in the greater city boundary), with all of its' winter trappings and trimmings, or did the city councilors miss that one. No one in their right mind would attempt a ride a bike down from the hill suburbs, or try riding home again, in the dark early mornings and evenings, in conditions we all face in winter. And buses do not go everywhere, frequently enough within the greater city boundaries to make those of us outside the inner city to want to catch one. Riding a bike or walking is not an option outside the inner city limits. So, making carparking an even more contentious issue makes little sense. It is time for the councilors to take stock of the negative impact their decision and the direction in which they are taking all of us.

I've lived in Dunedin for six decades and not once have I ever parked in George or Princes Streets to go into a shop. I would never think of it. That's what car park buildings are for. We should be future proofing our city centre and the first step is to remove motor vehicles.

Sitting at the airport, waiting for the fog to clear and chatting with visitors from Hamilton.
We’ve been staying out on the Peninsula and had a wonderful time, they said, BUT what’s the story with your CBD parking!!! We couldn’t figure it out!!!
I explained that’s what happens when you’ve got a mayor that hitchhikes, a Green Council, a hypocritical university that insists on no cycleways through the varsity and an NZTA that’s happy to mix trucks and cyclists on State Highway 1 as it traverses our city.
We don’t understand it neither. Madness!!!

You want to get rich in Dunedin? Turn your property into a parking lot. The brain trust at the DCC believe the economy in Dunedin should be based on parking. Like many people, rather than wasting money on parking to shop in the CBD, my family and I choose to use that money for postage and shop online instead. Hey Mr Mayor...you're killing the Dunedin economy and hurting locals with your idiotic parking rates! The idea is to make it easy for people to park at the CBD so they spend money NOT force them to shop on Amazon! Why can't we get people in office who have a clue about the most basic economic principles?

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