Frankton character saved by less parking

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“Providing more parking than is necessary is undesirable as it may use land best retained for other development and community uses” (Page 99 NZTA Parking reports 453)

For a utopian town centre I would agree with the statement that a “developer … build a decent building rather than a box in a sea of parking” (p452) (Ref 1 – Christchurch Draft Central City Technical Appendices 2 of 3). This may be the reason Christchurch is looking to set a limit on land used for parking.

“Sites with a parking area greater than 50% of the Gross Leasable Floor Area of the buildings on the site require resource consent” (page 9 & 99. Christchurch Draft Central City Recovery Plan Dec 2011)

Wisely for Christchurch “car parking was put in the business grouping rather than the transport grouping, and some participants were purposefully put into a group that did not reflect their core skill set to provide a different perspective to that group” (p488 Ref 1). This did bring out some “underlying tension between modes of transport/parking availability and economic vitality and [it was] believed a case still had to be made about the underlying assumption that a mode shift away from private vehicles would be good for the vibrancy of the central city” (p490 Ref 1).

As planners looked further into this, they found that less car parking is seen to have a “positive impact” (p506 car parking (14) Ref 1).

Frankton land use parking

The picture above looks at the area surrounding Frankton’s main street, Commerce Street. Even though the area is not all zoned Suburban Centre or Commercial, there are very few buildings in this area that have not been used as retail shops of some type in the past 100+ years.

As we can see, the area is at the 50% tipping point that risks the dominant land use being a place for motor vehicle storage, like an industrial zone.

Local shopping MPRsThis second picture lists the historical and current Minimum Parking Requirements (MPRs) an investor must provide before they begin planning to build or reinvest in a place like Frankton. The odd thing about the MPRs is the way they have changed from decade to decade. We start with 1 per 100m2 in the 1960s, then jump to just over 4 per 100m2. Different or sometimes larger shopping centres like Chartwell Square or suburban centres could be required to have more parking than smaller shopping centres in the 1970s & 1980s. From the 1990s this is flipped and larger destination shopping areas were given more freedom regarding the level of parking required, making development of small parcels of land overly expensive, if not impossible for an entry level business.

Research 374 - Comparisons of NZ and UK trips and parking rates

The setting of MPRs is said to be based on international parking surveys with the average being offered as a benchmarking number, as in Figure 3.9 from NZTA Parking report 374.

What this blog would like the reader to ask is whether it is sensible to use these parking surveys to set a precise number of car-parks for retail, when they are showing car parking demand ranges from over 10 for some to below 2 for others?

Source references

Tauranga City plan chapter 4

Cambridge UK Local Plan 2006

Geelong planning schemes 52_06 Car Parking

Houston TX – planning develop regs – offstreet – Chapter26_Ordinance_march_2013

Hamilton District Plan 2012

Hamilton Proposed  District Plans Chapter 18 & 25.14 Transportation plus Appendix 15

Page 111 Comparison of retail parking rates in NZ and overseas.

Page 162 Table 15-2A: Number of parking, loading and cycle spaces



Category: Economics, parking, Planning

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