A park and ride trial for Queenstown could be under way by the end of the year.
Queenstown council’s boss Mike Theelen says the trial is one of several initiatives it’s working on to improve traffic flows, reduce congestion and provide a “more pleasant environment” in the central town.
The council’s considering possible locations for a temporary, large-scale parking site in Frankton to offer a shuttle service in and out of the CBD.
That’ll offer an alternative for people working in the town centre, where parking is at a premium.
Commuters are competing for a limited number of parks with visitors and residents making shopping and business trips.
The council is already implementing a strategy to free up more parks for short stays and providing a dedicated parking area for campervans to reduce congestion on narrow downtown streets.
Ahead of the trial, commuters are being asked to take part in a survey asking, among other things, what would incentivise them to leave their cars and continue to town on a bus.
Questions include how much people will be prepared to pay for “parking and a daily return trip by shuttle” between Queenstown and the park, with options ranging from $2.50 to between $8 and $10.
The survey is designed to gauge demand for a park and ride service and how any such service could work.
The council’s property and infrastructure main planner Tony Pickard says: “We’ve put [a trial] in our implementation plan – we’d like to see something up and running before Christmas.
“What we’re doing is really just a precursor to that to work out what demand there might be. We need to know that people would come and use it.”
Provided there was anecdotal support, it was likely the trial would run for at least 12 months.
The council was looking at potential large-scale parking sites around Grant Rd and near the BP roundabout on State Highway 6 and was also talking to public transport operators to get information about the potential cost of the service.
“At the moment, I would see it being an established operator [running the service] rather than the council buying a bus and doing it themselves.”
Pickard says he’s aware of other centres operating park and ride, but Queenstown was, in some respects, unique.
“Queenstown is … quite a small town but it’s got quite a lot of transport and traffic difficulties.
“All these elements that we’re going to look at … car pooling, changing the parking in Queenstown, park and ride, the regional council are getting on to reviewing public transport, I don’t think any one of them is the silver bullet.
“All these solutions have to be integrated – they have to be joined up for them to work.”
The survey, which closes on August 22, is available online at qldc.govt.nz.
Otago Daily Times