A paper at the Waitemata local council meeting today raises serious concerns that Auckland Transport continues to undermine all of the city’s strategies to prioritize car parking.
This is 2 Terrasse Pompallier in Ponsonby, a 1330 m2 site owned by AT which currently has 41 parking lots and public toilets. The site had been identified as part of the council’s policy of targeting land it owns which is underperforming and aims to use it for “improve levels of service to the community, while producing strategic results such as urban regeneration without impact on tariffsIn the case of AT lands, they also hope to use the net proceeds to reinvest in transportation priorities.
The owner of the surrounding sites (Urban Collective) seeks to build a mixed-use development on their land and as part of that, they want to use this parking lot to create a public place integrated into their development. The sites concerned are presented below with the parking lot of the AT property in blue and the land of the Urban Collective in red.
The report states that Eke Panuku Development Auckland worked with the developer “to help unlock the value of the site, while retaining ownership of existing facilities and achieving better urban design outcomes for the community“.
A place catching the evening sun and with the hospitality pouring into it seems like a great addition and would help achieve it. They also say the plaza will include a publicly accessible pedestrian connection to Pompallier Terrace, Ponsonby Road and Cowen Street, and that the developer has agreed to “”record an engagement on the title to ensure that the square remains physically open to the public in the future“.
This all sounds good, but what strikes me is that it looks like AT will only let the site turn into place if it has at least 43 underground parking lots as part of the okay, a little more than it currently has.
AT requires that any transfer and fitting out of 2 Terrasse Pompallier be subject to the following conditions:
i) A minimum of 43 public parking lots must be delivered to Auckland Transport requirements as part of any future development of the Property;
ii) public car parks to remain the property of Auckland Council and managed by Auckland Transport in accordance with Auckland Council off-street parking delegations – June 2015;
iii) Public car parks must be easily accessible and identifiable as public car parks; and
iv) Auckland Transport car park designation should be changed or retained to protect public car parks.
It seems that the developer is ready to meet these conditions, but I also hope that there is something included in the requirements so that the street facade of the square is not only occupied by a large entrance. parking lot.
To be clear, my concern is not that the developer wants to provide parking as part of their development, but that AT has required it. This land is incredibly valuable and these underground parking lots won’t be cheap to build. I wonder what else could have been achieved if the value of this work, potentially millions of dollars, had been invested in other improvements to the public domain in the region. By putting in place such a requirement, we are losing the opportunity to have this discussion.
This is all a lot like what AT did in Takapuna where they asked Eke Panuku to build a multi-storey parking lot (Toka Puia) for them so that Eke Panuku could develop the Anzac St. parking lot. Noteworthy also by the way Toka Puia is that, despite its completion, AT still has not closed the Anzac St site and the price is lower than other parking lots nearby.
This parking lot is like Toka Puia in another way too, it has really poor financial performance. The paper notes:
AT confirmed that underground parking would increase operating costs. This additional cost was accepted as the current revenue generated by the parking lot is expected to exceed future costs. Currently, the budget for 2 Pompallier Terrace is $ 4,000 per year, which is expected to increase to between $ 10,000 and $ 30,000. Current income is $ 36,000 and opportunities to increase income will be explored as the proposed development progresses.
With revenue of only about $ 36,000 per year, this parking lot represents a terrible return to the site and suggests that each parking lot only generates about $ 2.40 per day. To put that in perspective, the current prices are $ 1 per hour per hour for the first two hours, then $ 4 per hour thereafter. This suggests that the parking lot is poorly managed by AT or that it is hardly used and therefore not that valuable.
With the developer on board, it looks like the officials are congratulating each other, but it looks like the question they haven’t asked themselves is:
How does this result help encourage the fashion shift and reduction in driving that Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and government policies all say we need to reduce congestion and emissions?
Speaking of emissions and climate change, the newspaper’s climate impact statement states:
- Using the best practices of universal design, the square will demonstrate climate mitigation and adaptation measures, taking into account the use of sustainable materials, waste reduction, water conservation and conservation. creation of an appropriate microclimate by addressing solar access, shade and wind.
- The new underground public parking will be flexible enough to allow for future changes or reconfigurations based on changing transport preferences. This includes, but is not limited to, the ability to swap parking lots for bicycle facilities, the addition of electric vehicle infrastructure, and support for carpooling initiatives where appropriate.
I wonder how all the emissions from building the structure as well as all the vehicles that will use it would weigh in relation to the “climate change mitigation and adaptation measuresâIncorporated into the square.
Finally, if keeping this parking lot is so important to AT, why haven’t they and the local council used it as an opportunity to achieve other results. For example, discuss with the community that if this currently poorly performing parking lot is to be retained, a similar amount of on-street parking on Ponsonby Rd ââwill need to be removed to make way for cycle lanes.
While this particular issue may seem minor, if the board is ever to achieve its vision for Tamaki Makaurau, at some point it will have to stop letting ATs park.