Smarter ways to manage city parking

A photograph of a section of Courtenay Place, Wellington with a line of cars parked on the street.

Our city is changing

Over the next 30 years Wellington will be home to another 50,000-80,000 residents and many more workers will commute in from the wider region.

To accommodate this growth, we need a more efficient transport system that makes better use of our limited road space and helps to reduce the city’s carbon emissions.

This means moving more people using fewer vehicles; more public transport use, walking and cycling and fewer people driving and parking in busy areas.

We need to review how we allocate road space for parking and manage parking differently to support this change.


What does this mean for the management of parking?

The Parking Policy and the Mobility Parking Policy provide the guiding principles for the management and supply of on-street and Wellington City Council-controlled off-street parking in Wellington City.

It’s critical that how we think and make decisions around parking and how we prioritise the use of our streets for parking, fits with the future city.

This is why we are taking a fresh look at our parking policies.

Over 330 people have already given us their views via an online questionnaire about parking that was open between 28 May and 2 September 2019. Below are the highlights. The full report will be available here soon. But there's still a chance to have your say...


How you can have your say

Everyone is affected by this policy from vehicle drivers, bus passengers, cyclists to pedestrians. It's important everyone has their opportunity to share their views.

The next opportunity to share your views will be the consultation on a new draft policy. We expect this to start early 2020.

If you want to stay informed and be reminded when the consultation opens please subscribe below.

In the meantime, take a look at the feedback we have received so far on different ways that the Council could manage its parking in the city.


Our city is changing

Over the next 30 years Wellington will be home to another 50,000-80,000 residents and many more workers will commute in from the wider region.

To accommodate this growth, we need a more efficient transport system that makes better use of our limited road space and helps to reduce the city’s carbon emissions.

This means moving more people using fewer vehicles; more public transport use, walking and cycling and fewer people driving and parking in busy areas.

We need to review how we allocate road space for parking and manage parking differently to support this change.


What does this mean for the management of parking?

The Parking Policy and the Mobility Parking Policy provide the guiding principles for the management and supply of on-street and Wellington City Council-controlled off-street parking in Wellington City.

It’s critical that how we think and make decisions around parking and how we prioritise the use of our streets for parking, fits with the future city.

This is why we are taking a fresh look at our parking policies.

Over 330 people have already given us their views via an online questionnaire about parking that was open between 28 May and 2 September 2019. Below are the highlights. The full report will be available here soon. But there's still a chance to have your say...


How you can have your say

Everyone is affected by this policy from vehicle drivers, bus passengers, cyclists to pedestrians. It's important everyone has their opportunity to share their views.

The next opportunity to share your views will be the consultation on a new draft policy. We expect this to start early 2020.

If you want to stay informed and be reminded when the consultation opens please subscribe below.

In the meantime, take a look at the feedback we have received so far on different ways that the Council could manage its parking in the city.


  • What you told us about parking in the central city

    17 days ago
    City centre photo

    Your feedback on the priorities for the allocation of street space to parking types/uses for the central city told us:

    • 58 percent of respondents felt bike parking should be a high priority
    • 54 percent of respondents felt mobility parking should be a high priority
    • 51 percent felt urban amenity features (such as street trees, plantings, seats, public art) should be a high priority
    • 52 percent also supported commuter parking not being a priority for street space allocation at all
    • 25 percent of respondents ranked commuter parking as a low priority.


    We talked about a number of solutions for when parking demand exceeds supply in the central city:

    • 30 percent of respondents included making it easier to get to the central city in other ways (walking, cycling, public transport) as one of their preferred options

    • The second highest option selected was to increase parking charges (16 percent of respondents).


    Your feedback on the priorities for the allocation of street space to parking types/uses for the central city told us:

    • 58 percent of respondents felt bike parking should be a high priority
    • 54 percent of respondents felt mobility parking should be a high priority
    • 51 percent felt urban amenity features (such as street trees, plantings, seats, public art) should be a high priority
    • 52 percent also supported commuter parking not being a priority for street space allocation at all
    • 25 percent of respondents ranked commuter parking as a low priority.


    We talked about a number of solutions for when parking demand exceeds supply in the central city:

    • 30 percent of respondents included making it easier to get to the central city in other ways (walking, cycling, public transport) as one of their preferred options

    • The second highest option selected was to increase parking charges (16 percent of respondents).


  • What you told us about parking in suburban town centres

    17 days ago
    Surburban town centre photo

    Your feedback on the priorities for the allocation of street space to parking types/uses for the suburban town centres told us:
    • 88 percent thought mobility parking should be a high or medium priority

    • 77 percent of respondents felt loading zones should be a high or medium priority

    • 69 percent of respondents felt that urban amenity features (such as street trees, plantings, seats, public art) as a high or medium priority

    • 76 percent of respondents felt that commuter parking should be a low priority or not a priority at all

    • For other types,...

    Your feedback on the priorities for the allocation of street space to parking types/uses for the suburban town centres told us:
    • 88 percent thought mobility parking should be a high or medium priority

    • 77 percent of respondents felt loading zones should be a high or medium priority

    • 69 percent of respondents felt that urban amenity features (such as street trees, plantings, seats, public art) as a high or medium priority

    • 76 percent of respondents felt that commuter parking should be a low priority or not a priority at all

    • For other types, responses were spread across different priorities (high, medium, low, not a priority) and showed no consensus view


    We talked about a number of solutions for when parking demand exceeds supply in the suburban town centres. The top three options selected by respondents were:

    • Make it easier to get to suburban town centre in other ways (walking, cycling, public transport) (25 percent)
    • Introduce time limits (18 percent)
    • Introduce charges (13 percent)

  • What you told us about parking in residential areas

    17 days ago
    Residential photo

    Your feedback on the priorities for the allocation of street space to parking types/uses for residential areas told us:
    • 74 percent thought residents parking should be a high or medium priority

    • 70 percent of respondents felt mobility parking should be a high or medium priority

    • 86 percent of respondents felt that commuter parking should be a low priority or not a priority at all

    • For other types, responses were spread across different priorities (high, medium, low, not a priority) and showed no consensus view.


    We talked about a number of solutions for when parking demand exceeds supply in the...

    Your feedback on the priorities for the allocation of street space to parking types/uses for residential areas told us:
    • 74 percent thought residents parking should be a high or medium priority

    • 70 percent of respondents felt mobility parking should be a high or medium priority

    • 86 percent of respondents felt that commuter parking should be a low priority or not a priority at all

    • For other types, responses were spread across different priorities (high, medium, low, not a priority) and showed no consensus view.


    We talked about a number of solutions for when parking demand exceeds supply in the residential centres:

    • 30 percent of respondents included making it easier to get to the central city in other ways (walking, cycling, public transport) as one of their preferred options

    • The second highest option selected was to increase parking charges (16 percent of respondents).



  • Further background on parking management in Wellington City

    19 days ago
    Adelaide road  wellington


    Wellington City Council adopted its first Parking Policy in 2007 to manage scarce public road space in a fair and balanced way that would benefit the city. It set overall principles and location-specific policies to guide the direction of our management and influence over the parking system. With less parking available, how the Council manages its remaining parking supply is even more important.

    The 2007 Parking Policy established the intended main use for on-street parking for different areas. On-street parking in the central city and suburban centres firstly supports retail and entertainment facilities, and secondly allows...


    Wellington City Council adopted its first Parking Policy in 2007 to manage scarce public road space in a fair and balanced way that would benefit the city. It set overall principles and location-specific policies to guide the direction of our management and influence over the parking system. With less parking available, how the Council manages its remaining parking supply is even more important.

    The 2007 Parking Policy established the intended main use for on-street parking for different areas. On-street parking in the central city and suburban centres firstly supports retail and entertainment facilities, and secondly allows for servicing and deliveries to buildings. On-street parking in the inner and outer suburbs mainly supports people who live in these areas so residents’ parking is prioritised over commuter and short-term parking.

    The parking management tools (ways we manage parking) vary across the city in order to support the intended main use for different areas, as set out in the Parking Policy.

    The range of methods we use to manage on-street parking includes: clearways, time limits, meter charges, class (type of vehicle) restrictions, coupon parking zones, and residents parking zones. For metered spaces, parking fees range from $2.50 to $4.50 per hour and time limits range from 2 to 10 hours.

    The 2007 Parking Policy adopted the internationally accepted standard of 15 percent vacancy (85 percent occupancy) as a target for our on-street parking. At this level, people can expect to find a park easily and the use of valuable street space is maximised.


    What do we want to achieve with an updated parking policy?

    We are looking for an updated parking policy that:

    • Provides guiding principles for the management of on-street and other Council-controlled parking, including mobility parking that are aligned with the wider vision for the city.
    • Is responsive to increasing parking pressures, flexible enough to respond to changing transport behaviours and makes use of evolving technology where appropriate.
    • Enables a consistent approach to managing parking across the city that is clear and easy to understand.


    The hidden costs of parking

    The parking fee is set at a level that we think will encourage the internationally accepted ideal of 85 percent occupancy. That means if we’ve got it right, 15 percent of the parking spaces should be available at any time. That fee does not compensate the city for a number of other costs related to providing parking – such as increased use of cars which has an impact on traffic congestion, more emissions affecting the environment and loss of space that could be used for other public uses such as wider footpaths, cycling or bus lanes, or outdoor dining space.


    Demand for parking is exceeding supply

    Demand for parking is increasing due to population growth (both within the city and in region), urban development, increased car ownership and many Wellington residents, commuters and visitors still rely on driving to get around. There is a tension between parking supply, availability, the use of public space and parking affordability. At the same time the supply of parking has decreased because of space being used for other things, such as construction work; road space used for alternative transport modes; the impact of the earthquake on parking buildings; and the increasing need to provide space for car share and electric vehicle charging.

    There is also competition for on-street parking between the various users of the parking system, for example between residents, commuters, motorcyclists, people with disabilities, shoppers and delivery drivers. This varies from area to area, times of day and days of the week. There may be opportunities to make better use of the space set aside for parking to ensure no parking spaces are ‘wasted’ (left empty for prolonged periods of time).


    Different parking management approaches

    Many European and American cities are using a range of different strategies to manage parking. Zurich, Hamburg, Oslo and New York have capped their total parking supply and London, Copenhagen and Paris are actively reducing the number of parking spaces. Tokyo has no on-street parking. These actions were mainly driven by air quality requirements, to reduce congestion, to encourage use of public transport and to stop cars driving into historic centres. Other approached to managing parking include:


    Pricing changes

    Parking mainly benefits the person using it and fees could reflect that. This could mean parking prices reflected the real-time market demand for the space, the cost of providing the infrastructure and the opportunity cost of the loss of space for other uses.

    Another option is dynamic or variable, market-based pricing where prices go up or down depending on demand at a particular time and in a particular area. People would pay for the time they use the space. Dynamic pricing generally means street space is used more efficiently, congestion reduces and there are opportunities to repurpose parking space for other uses.

    For example, the Gold Coast varies the cost of parking at various times, depending on demand and puts 50 percent of the revenue from parking fees towards improving public transport. Perth uses the income from their parking fees to provide free city centre bus travel. Nottingham City Council is the first council to introduce a targeted rate on private business parking. The revenue has funded a new light rail system.


    Space use is prioritised and targeted

    The Council could prioritise its parking supply to ensure people who cannot easily use public transport or active transport (such as walking or cycling) can easily get to essential facilities and services and to maintain the economic viability of retail centres. This could mean any of the following:

    • an increase of mobility parking and other designated-user parking spaces in certain areas,
    • parking at Council sports, parks and recreation facilities is prioritised for people using the facility
    • short-stay parking is provided in the central city and suburban centres
    • long-stay/commuter parking is discouraged in certain areas and/or
    • residents without off-street parking are prioritised with residents parking zones.


    Making sure the current parking is properly used

    In order to maximise the use of a limited resource the Council could make sure each space is used for the maximum amount of time, and that everyone has fair access to the spaces. This would mean continuing to enforce overstaying, permit parking and illegally parked vehicles. Where practical some parking spaces could be used for other things at different times, depending on demand. Applying an area-based approach when making decisions about changing parking management could help to manage overspill effects.


    Improve information and use technology

    New ways to pay, digital signage, real-time data and other technological innovations could help the Council to deliver its parking service more transparently and efficiently and could improve the user experience. Providing more information to the public about where, when and how long they can park will reduce congestion and should help people decide how to travel.


    What options are there for different ways to charge for parking?

    One option is dynamic pricing. This is a system that can react to demand for parking. Under this system charges are based on historical averages and how much current activity is varying from those averages. Based on the exact time and day, if the current parking space occupancy is lower than expected, discount prices can be put out. If the parking space occupancy is higher than expected, higher rates can be set. This method seeks to balance the supply and demand and improve the parking experience for customers. In Los Angeles, prices for parking are lower with dynamic pricing in 60 percent of parking spaces and higher in only 27 percent of spaces. San Francisco also has this system in place.

    However, the Council must follow set consultation and notification procedures and timeframes before making significant changes to fees. Therefore, even if the Council had the technology in place, under the current legislation and bylaw, it is not possible to have dynamic pricing.

    Another option is demand responsive pricing. This is similar to dynamic pricing and works by splitting the city into ‘parking areas’ with rates varying to reflect the demand for parking in each area and at peak and off peak times. At regular intervals, the prices are readjusted based on the occupancy levels observed in the previous quarter. The aim is to achieve 85 percent occupancy. Auckland City has demand responsive pricing in some parts of the city.