A time limit on parking in Bankart St is being sought by the Raglan Community Board as it looks at ways to deal with the traffic congestion in the town in the summer months.

On Tuesday last week, the community board moved to include a two-hour time limit in Bankart St in their submission on the Waikato District Council Public Places Bylaw, which regulates a range of activities that happens in public places (roads, streets and parks). The council is seeking input from the community on parking in particular, and Bankart St currently has no time limit on how long vehicles can be parked there.

The community board has also asked for a time limit of 48 hours on boats and trailers at the wharf, and stated a desire to work with council on a temporary parking solution for the summer.

A report on Raglan CBD parking was presented to the community board by Matt Holl and Kelly Murphy. They had conducted a Raglan Business Parking Survey to seek community input into the town’s parking issues.

The survey was delivered to 70 businesses, of which 66 responded.

Matt said the point of the survey was to get some feedback from those who owned a business or worked in town because they would get to see any problems every day and might be able to come up with some ways to resolve them.

He said the results of the survey would progress into a community consultation process to find a parking solution.

“The end game is we have a parking problem and we need to look at a solution.”

The survey results showed that there were some 120 vehicles owned by business owners and their employees that took up parking in and near the town centre.

The report stated that the community board might wish to look into the option of a temporary staff parking area, one that could be part or fully funded by the council and community board, so that there was more parking available for visitors.

Kelly said time limits in Bankart St were needed to free up the parking spaces that were currently being used by business owners and their employees.

Bankart St was also now considered a business area, she said, and therefore should have parking restrictions such as in Bow St, Wainui Rd, Wallace St and Wi Neera St.

However, she said, the survey indicated that many business owners thought that a one-hour time limit was not sufficient for visitors to have a meal at a cafe and have a bit of a shop around.

Kelly said Wi Neera St would be best used as a parking area for businesses. Being narrow, “we don’t want a huge turnaround in that street”.

She said another option for parking by people who worked in the town was the Raglan RSA  – it costs $25 to join the club and club members have use of its car park.

Councillor Clint Baddeley questioned why workers were not using the parking on Stewart St or James St, as it was only a short walk to the main business area.  “That’s laziness. During the week, particularly, there is no-one there.”

Respondents to the survey also suggested that perhaps a change in mindset was needed. “Need to encourage walking, biking and public transport,” said one.

Council regulatory manager Roger MacCulloch, who attended the community board meeting, said the review of the Public Places Bylaw was an opportunity for the community board to highlight any changes needed regarding parking requirements.

He said the council was also working on how more parking could be achieved in Raglan this summer, and how that could be turned into a long-term solution.

Roger said council was currently discussing with owners the viability of leasing an undeveloped site on Wi Neera St as an overflow car-parking area. The discussion of whether that would be for employees and business owners or visitors could come later, he said.

He said parking on the medium strip had caused a number of accidents in the past to the point that it was considered unsafe.

The community board discussed the option of placing more rocks as bollards along the medium strip or creating a space for people to enjoy, but, in the meantime, Roger suggested putting up signs to say it was a no-parking zone for cars.

He said motorbikes should be allowed to use the medium strip because they were more manoeuvrable and otherwise would take up an entire car park.

A parking warden would in Raglan for four days of the week in the height of summer, he said, to help with parking issues, and the council would also have the presence of an animal control officer – given that dogs were allowed back in the town centre – who would have the same powers as a parking warden.

A traffic counter would be placed on the main road, probably near the BP service station, to find out how much traffic was coming into Raglan in the weekends, Roger said.

The council would also be providing signs to point visitors to public parking in James St.

The community board agreed with council bylaw proposals to remove a boat trailer park at the wharf to make room for four new car parks and the addition of a disability car park outside Orca Restaurant and Bar.

Inger Vos