Call for comments after only 10 submissions on Nelson’s parking proposals

The consultation closes in just over a week, but so far only ten authors have shared their thoughts on parking in Nelson with the board.

Tim Newman / Stuff

The consultation closes in just over a week, but so far only ten authors have shared their thoughts on parking in Nelson with the council.

A new Nelson parking strategy, with potentially controversial changes, attracted just 10 public submissions, prompting a council call for more comment.

Submissions to the strategy close May 16, and the board is seeking more input to help develop guiding principles for the next 10 years.

Nelson City Council’s transport and solid waste manager, Marg Parfitt, said the parking strategy was one of many works that would help make Nelson a more people-centric place, alongside improving public transport and active transport.

“The parking strategy is not a silver bullet in itself,” she said.

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“People need to step back and look at the bigger picture – this sets the framework for decision-making for the next ten years, and transport is changing rapidly.”

The new parking strategy proposes both short-term and long-term changes – even the free hour is potentially up for change, with a move towards progressive pricing in three to five years.

Parfitt said the graduated parking proposal was one the council particularly wanted to hear feedback on, along with other measures to increase the efficiency of existing parking spaces, such as the creation of loading zones in some parks. during certain hours, and mobility parks or taxi ranks. in others.

“What we’re offering is that there are parks where you can only park for an hour – all of Trafalgar St – so we can remove the time limits and move to progressive payment, so you can say that the first hour might be free, the second might cost $2, the third $4, and so on. »

Parfitt said the strategy recognizes that there is no free lunch (or “free” parking space), but overall the goal is for people to stay in town longer (the Richmond Mall parking, although free at the point of use for customers, is paid for by retailers).

Councilor Brian McGurk said evidence showed 'slow movers' like pedestrians and cyclists spent a lot of time and money in town centers - but those who needed parking would.

Andy MacDonald / Stuff

Councilor Brian McGurk said evidence showed ‘slow movers’ like pedestrians and cyclists spent a lot of time and money in town centers – but those who needed parking would.

“It’s really tough for retailers right now, and we definitely want to hear from them,” she said.

“There’s a growing understanding that if we want a people-oriented downtown, with high amenities, that’s good for the economy. There will always be parking, but it will be for the people who need it most.

Councilor Brian McGurk, chair of the infrastructure committee, said while people might feel consultation fatigue, submissions were a valuable tool for councilors in a crisis.

The strategy outlined the “why”, while three parking management plans for Stoke, Tāhunanui and the city center outlined the “how”, he said. The three parking management plans, as well as the overall strategy, can be viewed at shape.nelson.govt.nz.

McGurk said it was “fair to say we’re not looking to increase parking” in the city, but urged people with parking thoughts to share them.

“A well-considered and considered submission is very compelling, or if a few people bring up similar points of view, it is worth considering. This offers a perspective that we can consider.

Submissions can be made online on the council’s Shape Nelson page.