Finger-pointing over parking woes

Clogged: Frankton's Kawarau Road

Frankton residents are pointing the finger at Queenstown Airport and the New Zealand Transport Agency for parking woes.

A meeting was called for Saturday by Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay to address queueing traffic and parking congestion on State Highway 6, near the airport.

Issues raised will form part of Mr Barclay’s petition to NZTA, demanding it takes immediate action to curb parking along that stretch of road.

Residents at the meeting, held at St Margaret’s Church, took the opportunity to raise other traffic concerns. One describes NZTA plans as a “dog’s breakfast”.

Another says “gridlock” is dangerous and a third blamed the airport for “not doing its bit” to ease the traffic flow.

Queenstown Airport boss Colin Keel wasn’t available for interview when contacted by the Otago Daily Times.

In an emailed statement, Keel says the airport is actively listening to the local community and working to provide “convenient, affordable and safe car-parking solutions both short and long-term”.

It is adding 50 parking spaces by the end of November and considering a park-and-ride trial.

NZTA has said it is working on parking problems. Signs advising drivers they can only parallel park, not angle park, are on the way. An extra lane is also planned at the BP roundabout to ease delays.

Not all residents are convinced.

Frankton Community Association chairman Glyn Lewers, one of about 60 people who attended Saturday’s meeting, accuses the airport of “not pulling its weight and not doing right by the community”.

He also says the NZTA has things back-to-front.

“They will put in an underpass for cows but not for primary school children.”

The volume of traffic is also a worry.

“You have petrol tankers and cattle trucks going down there — it is ridiculous.”

Residents at the meeting suggest Gray St be blocked off to reduce traffic.

Bruce Cunningham, who has lived in Frankton for 10 years, says traffic has increased dramatically in the last two years. As a rule he does not drive during peak times due to increased travel times.

“You have to allow for traffic build-up.”

Cunningham describes existing plans as a “Band-Aid fix” and doesn’t believe a real solution  would be found for about 10 years.

Questions relating to Queenstown’s council were pitched to Alexa Forbes, who was sitting at the back of the room.

Barclay says he would consult the council on the wording of the petition to ensure it agreed. Once confirmed, he aims to submit the petition to NZTA this week.

“I haven’t seen any new signs, nor any other activities to curb parking along that particular stretch of road, which is why I am launching a petition to expedite consultation on the banning of parked cars and to introduce double lanes along State Highway 6 between Queenstown Airport and the BP roundabout.”

NZTA confirms the petition would be discussed at the next meeting of the governance group later this month.

Otago Daily Times