Auckland Transport did what it does best: it produced a 40-page glossy booklet. This one is called a ‘Parking Strategy’. The people who are in charge of providing car parks start from the premise that their job is to “reduce car travel to contribute to reduced energy consumption and climate change mitigation”.
The reason behind this cognitive dissonance is that Auckland Council no longer seems to employ road engineers. These days, it prefers to employ “social engineers”, embedded activists who seem to believe that our cars carry the mark of the beast. They do this under the benign neglect that passes for supervision of our elected Councillors.
AT officials realised that 80% of their park-and-ride facilities are at capacity by 8 am. In Waiheke, we understand that problem only too well. The solution would seem to be obvious: build better facilities. AT’s proposed solution, though, is to introduce a charge, as that could “provide a user pays contribution towards the cost of capital and operating expenditure”.
Now we are getting to the nub of it. We thought that our very high and escalating rates were supposed to pay for this sort of thing, but it seems that all the loot is spent on lavish salaries, late model SUVs for ballooning staff numbers, lavish offices and glossy strategy documents. The bureaucrats are just trying to ape successful private enterprise. Got to look the part, you know.
Of course, the introduction of parking charges at park-and-ride facilities will encourage people to drive all the way to their destination, instead of using public transport. Alas, that option is not available to us in Waiheke and no doubt that is the reason why Matiatia is the only AT-managed park-and-ride facility in the whole of Auckland that is currently priced.
The AT people know what is required. They have a code of practise that includes sealed surfaces, lighting, CCTV surveillance, sheltered access and location within 200 metres of the terminal. Everything in fact that we don’t have in Matiatia, especially the gravel car park 800 metres up the road, that some think to believe ought to be good enough for the simple folk of Waiheke.
They are also aware that we need more car parks. Their document says that it has between 101 and 300 potential new parking bays “under investigation” for some time between 2015 and 2045. No rash promises though. It is unlikely that there will be any money in the kitty after it is all spent on empire building. That is, unless government does the obvious and appoints competent commissioners to properly oversee Auckland Council’s out of control organisations, like AT.