Last month we outlined to you the challenges businesses in the Grey Lynn area are having with the introduction of the Residents Parking Zone.
Our first major plea to Auckland Transport is to please tell us what triggers RPZ considerations and how the area is determined. From our research and commentary back to us post our previous article, its unclear as to how, what and why the process of declaring an RPZ is determined. There’s a definite lack of transparency around why one street is in an RPZ and another excluded even though they may be in quite close proximity.
Our next concern is how does AT draw the boundaries. There’s a lack of clarity around this, yet setting the context for businesses is critical. What we are finding from feedback, is that some businesses located within an RPZ are finding it much more friendly in terms of customers being able to park in reasonably close proximity during the day to the business but staff are being unable to find parking and some are leaving home upwards of half an hour earlier just to find a park within a 10 to 15 minute walk of the business.
What must be remembered in the RPZ consideration is the access or ease of ability to use public transport. For example was the RPZ now in place in parts of Grey Lynn considered in the context of and associated major implications of withdrawing public transport from Williamson Avenue?
We have also have some serious commentary back from businesses located in a commercial zone next to the RPZ. Commercial zone areas have parking restrictions imposed - either 30 or 60 minutes - but the major issue is that there is now no staff carparking in reasonable proximity to the business. Furthermore, because these businesses are located outside the RPZ, they cannot apply for coupon parking.
The ability for businesses to apply for coupon parking within the RPZ and pay the charge of course is extremely limited. We have never had an explanation for the limitation nor whether there are any other solutions possible to the problem. And this is because there is a lack of clear lines of communication between AT and the respective representative organisations. We accept that there must be changes when streets become congested but it is how that change is considered and then subsequently implemented that causes the greatest problems for our member businesses.
You cannot help but reflect on the absence of suitable context setting in many of the consultations that occur between local government agencies and organisations such as our own. It is frustrating, I am certain, for both parties to hear time and again that the community considered consultation perfunctory. Recently, I heard similar frustrations being expressed in respect of the proposed Parnell route redevelopment, aka a new cycleway for Parnell. The comment was we have submitted our views but there’s little hope they will be listened too. This is something we hear a lot in Grey Lynn.
Personally, I think it’s because the consultation model was developed in the context of a High Court decision relating to commercial charges being imposed on airlines by Wellington Airport. Imposing commercial charges in order to fund developments is one thing but applying the same definition to projects which have the potential to seriously disrupt communities is quite different. Furthermore in our view, the High Court decision reflects the 'weather of the day' - the Government’s decision to corporatise entities and their desperate need for funding streams whereas the 'climate of our era' is quite different.
Communities seek from local entities on-going meaningful discussion and dialogue. Businesses expect to be fully engaged in projects that can go to the core of their financial survivability when projects disrupt customer purchasing habits and flows over prolonged periods. We expect engagement. We want facts to support charge. We expect the final result to encompass empathy and embody the essence of our villages. And we don’t appreciate more and more concrete, paint-on solutions, congestion causing bus stops and safety hazards.
Meeting the multiple demands of very our communities can and is challenging - we accept that but it can be done but it does take a lot of time, effort and constructive engagement. We look forward to active engagement with AT and other Government agencies on resolving our very challenging parking issues and experiencing a new community-focused, empathetic redevelopment of our villages. Our association is voluntary.
Our strength comes from constructive participation - we are encouraging all Grey Lynn businesses to join our organisation and become part of the movement to promote, expand and develop district 1021. (Irene King and Paul Stephenson, Joint Co-Chair GLBA)
For more info go to www.glba.co.nz