Free parking was one of the great selling points as to why a person should shop in Richmond and not in Nelson. The parking is still free – if you can find a park. Unless you overstay in your park, and then you will pay for the privilege.
Why would anyone overstay when the parking is free? Probably because if you move you will find yourself driving for miles to find another park if you dare move. Has Richmond become a victim of its own advertising success? Or has our small town gone and got all grown up?
One of the questions I would like to ask is how big businesses in central Richmond (and one obvious one in particular) was allowed to expand to such a size without providing adequate parking?
I am sure there were a number of studies done by very intelligent people as to how many parks should be provided based on customer projections etc. For the most part, there is usually park to be found for customers, even if it is in no-mans land midway between the shopping complexes.
However, given that these complexes are the major employers in Richmond, I am left wondering how they were not required to provide adequate parking for the staff that would inevitably end up employed there. It would seem from an obviously not educated enough perspective that the main cause of the Richmond parking woes is directly related to this issue.
Should residents of nearby streets have to suffer constantly clogged streets because someone did not stipulate that the big business owners should have to provide adequate staff parking? Streets that were designed for horse and carts, or limited traffic flow at the best, are now barely navigatable because both sides of the road are clogged with commuter traffic.
If you need to make a pitstop at a bank or other service and you happen to be driving a truck and trailer – park in Hope and get a taxi back into town!
What is the next step to providing a solution? Yellow lines down one side of the street? Ratepayer funded road widening? Paid parking facilities for workers so the shoppers can shop for free?
At what point do we start to question why a mandatory parking building wasn’t stipulated as part of the consent process?
But, what more can we expect from a council that has, as Cherie Sivignon reports, “a shortage of car parks at Tasman District Council’s Richmond office [resulting] in a bill of more than $200,000.”
It appears that TDC are responsible for providing staff car parking facilities, and yet other businesses are not?
Eventually, the current model is going to produce the same results that we have in central Nelson proving that the only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history. Central Richmond will become a ghost town as commerce moves to the outskirts of town, such as lower Queen Street or the Saxton area when rival malls are opened.
Am I wrong? What do you say?