Chris Lynch: Council’s anti-car agenda back in the spotlight

Author
Chris Lynch,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 Aug 2020, 3:02PM

Chris Lynch: Council’s anti-car agenda back in the spotlight

Author
Chris Lynch,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 Aug 2020, 3:02PM

The Christchurch City Council is pretending to care about parking in the central city again.

The Urban Development and Transport Committee claims it wants to have a conversation on the issue - but it's being devious by asking the question “do we have the balance of parking right in our central city?”

It’s a question that is so disingenuous , it is bordering on insulting.

It’s the same committee that gets horny every time the words "removing on-street car parks” are used.After all, if we can get rid of just one more park, we’re doing our bit to save the planet, then we can feel good about ourselves.

In a press release, the council says it wants us to imagine an area about 40 per cent the size of Hagley Park - that’s the amount being used for parking.

It’s the same argument the organisation uses when they want to put up rates. “It’s just the amount of a cup of coffee a week."

There are about 35,000 parking spaces within the CBD, many of which are under-utilised, the council says.

But they're being sneaky with the truth. 

Many of the parking spaces are on empty sites and their consents are due to expire next year when temporary earthquake legislation ends.

The organisation is trying to have its cake and eat it too by selecting statistics that suit its narrative. That's not democracy. 

The council claims “for a city our size, we probably have an over-supply of parking in the central city rather than an under-supply”.

What’s the answer? You can see it now, planter boxes, trees, wider footpaths, carbon-neutral space ships and transitional projects with plastic green couches.

Read further down and the agenda becomes even more obvious. They want you to think about Oxford Terrace as it was before the earthquakes when the riverside was used for parking.

And think about it now, with the parking removed. "It has become one of Christchurch’s most vibrant, people-friendly areas, humming with bars and restaurants”, they say.

That’s because there’s an attraction there now called Riverside Market, thanks to private investment, not because the council removed car parks. In fact, owners of Riverside recently acquired more land next door and built their own car park due to massive demand.

And that’s despite the fact that the Lichfield Street car park is just down the road. I’m all for saving the planet, but don’t pretend you want a meaningful conversation. Not all of us have the time to ride a bike or take public transport to work and don’t misrepresent this as anti-cycleways.

I was an advocate of cycleways years ago, but, like so many people, have been horrified at the dictatorial approach and speed by which they’ve been installed, while roads on the east remain buggered.

Council staff will “talk” to city residents and businesses on what a new Central City Parking Policy should achieve before “public consultation.”

What's consultation? It's a process where you pretend to listen to the people of Christchurch just like you did on no-rates increases.