Hamilton: City of Cars?




Submissions close 7 May, 2017!

The Hamilton City Centre has declined in recent years as new express roads have been built servicing large malls out of the CBD. Meanwhile the CBD has suffered from a lack of investment. There are good plans based on international best practice to transform and connect the CBD, but these plans have no funding.

You may have seen our opinion-piece in the Waikato Times last weekend. You can read it here. We have helped bring these issues to public attention, but we need people to make their voice heard by quick submitting by tonight!

See our previous campaigns here.

So what is council proposing?


Removing parking charges in the CBD and limiting parking in the CBD to 2 hours, per day, per vehicle. [1]

How are they going to pay for it?

Special additional targeted rates in Hamilton, averaging $26 per household, and $139 per CBD business. [1]

Is that fair?

No, this effectively penalises people who do not have cars and encourages more people to abandon buses causing more overall congestion. The extra charge on CBD businesses is also unfair as the proposal is unlikely to allow more people to park in the 85-90% utilised central CBD space. [1]

What else is council proposing?

  • Adding 17 new car parks at a cost of $25,000 from the only budget to fund dedicated walking and biking infrastructure [1]


  • Turning Garden Place back into a 91 space car park, as well as reducing footpath widths to accommodate more parking and jeopardising future shared zone development. [2][3]

Will it work?

We don’t think so. It’s not based on international or local evidence

  • Auckland CBD has seen car volumes decline, yet on the main street pedestrian traffic has doubled in five years. This hasn’t been through more car parking, it’s been through record investment in high quality public and active transport. [4]
  • International and local evidence show that workers will use more spaces intended for shoppers, this has been noticed in Hamilton since parking has been made free after 3pm and caused Rotorua to drop their free parking time limit to 60 minutes. [5]



What’s the alternative?

  • Improve biking and walking connections by providing high quality separated infrastructure and traffic calming.
  • Invest in bus priority measures to enable people to park and ride around the central city or bus in from around the city.
  • Use parking technology to enable demand variable pricing to make the best use of the ample parking around the Central City (this is already budgeted but has been delayed). [1]

The City Centre Transformation Plan and Biking Plan have an excellent vision, that needs to be matched by political and financial commitment.


What can I do?

Use our quick submit to send your views to council by 7 May, 2017. This is part of the 2017/18 annual plan consultation. [6]

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 What other people are saying


  1. http://www.hamilton.govt.nz/AgendasAndMinutes/20170406%20-%20Council%20Meeting%20Agenda%20-%20Open%20-%2006%20April%202017.pdf
  2. http://www.hamilton.govt.nz/AgendasAndMinutes/20190214%20Growth%20and%20Infrastructure%20-%20Open%20Agenda%20-%2014%20February%202017.pdf
  3. http://www.hamilton.govt.nz/AgendasAndMinutes/20170214%20-%20Growth%20and%20Infrastructure%20-%20Confirmed%20Open%20Minutes%20-%2014%20Feb%202017.pdf
  4. https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2016/04/04/queen-st-lots-of-people-few-vehicles/
  5. http://www.rotorualakescouncil.nz/AgendasAndMinutes/Strategy%20Policy%20and%20Finance%20Committee/2015/Agenda%20Strategy%20Policy%20and%20Finance%20Committee%20meeting%204%20November%202015%20-%20EXCL%20conf.pdf
  6. http://www.hamilton.govt.nz/our-council/council-publications/annualplan/Documents/Annual%20Plan%20Consultation%20Document%20-%20forWEB.pdf

 If you've made it this far, you might also appreciate this article from The Economist.