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Two-hour free parking to end in Hamilton Central


Hamilton Central is to bring back paid parking (Image Supplied)

Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, December 1, 2023

Two-hour free parking in Hamilton’s central city may be replaced by a new demand-responsive pricing model as Hamilton City Council looks for opportunities to increase revenue as part of its proposed 2024-2034 Long-Term Plan.

The proposed Long-Term Plan budget, which the Council took into consideration at its Extraordinary Council Meeting on Tuesday 28 November and Wednesday 29 November, included a proposal to introduce demand-responsive pricing to replace its two-hour free parking trial in the central city.

If new demand-responsive pricing for parking is adopted, the two-hour free parking trial in the central city and the central city rate will end on June 30, 2024.

Options being considered

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate said different options for central city parking are being considered as part of discussions about revenue, encouraging the public to have their say during the wider Long-Term Plan consultation period in March and April next year.
“Elected members must consider all sources of revenue. We have put forward a user-pays parking system in the central city for consideration. Free parking has cost the city up to $800,000 in lost revenue annually since the trial began. Of course, free parking is not truly free, it is subsidised by the ratepayer. We are keen to hear from the community on this,” she said.
Hamilton City Council City Transport Unit Director Gordon Naidoo said that while a shift to demand-responsive pricing for parking would produce additional revenue, the true benefit of the proposed change would be better management of parking use in the central city.
“The ideal occupancy rate for parking is 85% as it means there are enough people spending time in the area to ensure its vibrancy, but it is not so busy that drivers avoid the area as they cannot find a carpark. What we have found with the two-hour free parking trial, as well as the all-day parking scheme, is these have led to occupancy rates of more than 85% in many areas, making it difficult for the public to find available parks and causing low parking turnover,” he said.
“The proposed demand-responsive pricing for parking would help ensure more frequent turnover in high-demand areas by setting parking fees at levels that increase and decrease based on demand. This approach aims to help improve parking availability for the public to support business productivity and supports the broader strategic goals of creating a more liveable and sustainable urban environment.”

The changes to come

Under the proposed 2024-2034 budget, the initial price-point for the demand-responsive parking model would be $3 per hour for the first two hours and $6 per hour thereafter where parking spaces generally have greater than 85% occupancy, and $1 per hour for the first two hours and $6 per hour thereafter where parking spaces generally have less than 85% occupancy.
The proposed budget also includes the introduction of demand-responsive pricing for all-day paid parking, which would enable increasing prices from $6 to $12 to achieve 85% occupancy rates.
It is estimated that $5.14 million in parking revenue would be generated in year 1 of the draft 2024-34 Long Term Plan if the changes go ahead.

The two-hour free parking in central Hamilton was first introduced in October 2017 as a nine-month trial and has been reviewed and extended several times since.

Members of the public who spoke to Indian Newslink were unhappy about the decision. Jay, a young professional who travel to Central City for work meeting said, “With such high rates for parking, it is more viable to avoid the area and make plans in other parts of the city. It would surely mean loses for businesses, but paying such high parking charges is surely a deterrent for me and many others.”

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.


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