'There's not a single park for us'

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By Anne Gibson

About 800 extra cars are added to Auckland roads every week but city apartments are rising with fewer car parks. One new block has none.

In a radical, significant departure from tradition, parks are either being restricted, squeezed into stackers or eliminated, causing angst among city or fringe area residents.

"Everyone parks in our street now," complained a Grey Lynn woman. "There's not a single park for us and to make it worse, new blocks are going up without a single car park, which squeezes us more."

Vehicle numbers are ballooning. NZ Transport Agency said last March 43,000 extra vehicles had been added to Auckland's roads. Every week, around 800 extra vehicles are registered in Auckland.

And given Auckland's Unitary Plan removes requirements for parking in many areas, fewer car spaces will be developed across New Zealand's biggest city.

Examples of new parking models are:

1. Daisy, under construction by Ockham Residential at 11 Akepiro St, city end of Dominion Rd, CBD fringe: not a single residents' private car parking space. Instead, its two scanty car parks are for communal eco-friendly cars. Has 40 bicycle and 15 scooter parks.

Mt Eden's Botanica Living under construction: eight units without car parks.
Mt Eden's Botanica Living under construction: eight units without car parks.

2. Mt Eden's 67-unit five-level Botanica Living, Enfield St by Greg Reidy's McDougall Reidy and builder Hayden & Rollett: no car parks with eight one-bedroom units but Vespa scooters sold with parking. The project has 100 car parks but Reidy said the scooter offer resolved transport issues for buyers of one-bedroom places while allowing larger units to be sold with two car parking spaces. That met both ends of the market.

Some apartments planned for Takapuna's Tennyson Ave will have no car parks.
Some apartments planned for Takapuna's Tennyson Ave will have no car parks.

3. At 32-34 Tennyson Ave, Takapuna, 16 units proposed with no car park. Car stacker machines to maximise use of space. Two five-level blocks with 53 units and 43 car parks proposed. Six pairs of stacked parking in the two-level basement with bike stands.

Library 27 at 27 Rutland St, planned for Auckland's CBD opposite the library.
Library 27 at 27 Rutland St, planned for Auckland's CBD opposite the library.

4. Library 27 at 27 Rutland St in the CBD, a new residential block planned near Auckland Library provides only six car parks for 49 units in high-rise block.

5. The Station at 131a Beach Rd in the Quay Park area below Parnell will have no car parks.

6. 35-39 Wakefield St, student accommodation where the spokeswoman said no car parks were developed.

 The Dylan in Grey Lynn has 24 parks for bicycles.
The Dylan in Grey Lynn has 24 parks for bicycles.

7. Limited parking at Grey Lynn block, The Dylan, where 24 units have only 37 car parks, but 24 bicycle parks.

Previously, most apartments had about one car park per unit: smaller, cheaper places were sold with no car parks but expensive and expansive penthouses often came with two or more.

Developers say a combination of circumstances is resulting in lower car park provisions:

Continued below.

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• Building inflation, rising at 10-17 per cent annually, making construction expensive;

• Scarce, valuable land supply, resulting in floor plan efficiencies;

• Unitary Plan, encouraging greater density, more public transport use;

• Cost of below-ground excavations;

• Attempts to make units more affordable by cutting building size and costs;

• Special Housing Areas, requiring 10 per cent affordable places;

• Sustainability, carbon emission reduction efforts and green building certification.

• No CBD car parking requirements or demands in the old planning regime.

• Uber's rise.

• No car parking requirements in some city fringe areas or mixed use zones.

An Auckland Council spokeswoman said fewer car parks supported intensification and public transport.

Mark Todd of Ockham, proud of developing apartments without private car parks. Photo/Geoff Dale
Mark Todd of Ockham, proud of developing apartments without private car parks. Photo/Geoff Dale

Mark Todd, an Ockham founder, is proud that Daisy will have no private car parks and says providing them would add to congestion. Apartment buyers make lifestyle choices, often eliminating cars, he says.

"I love no car parking requirements in residential buildings. There's maximum limits on car parking provisions but no minimum now. You don't have to build one single car park in mixed-use and terraced housing zones or in the CBD," said Todd, who has three parks at his apartment.

"I've never built anything without car parks before. Most [developments] have one car park per unit," he said, telling how he is planning other projects with restricted parking.

Car parks were developed half a level below ground at this historic project on Valley Rd, Mt Eden.
Car parks were developed half a level below ground at this historic project on Valley Rd, Mt Eden.

In Mt Eden, developer Nigel McKenna blasted volcanic rock for a floor half-below ground, to provide 12 parks at the Chambers & Station site on Valley Rd.

Patrick Reynolds and Matt Lowrie of transport and urban lobby group Greater Auckland delight in car parks vanishing and also laud Auckland Transport moves to cut on-street parking to short-term, with measures such as extensive landscaping in the Wynyard Quarter.

"The big trend we've been seeing is a decoupling of parking from apartments, so if you are buying off the plans, it doesn't automatically come with a car park," Lowrie said.

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