The City of Windhoek is in the process of implementing a new parking system in the central business district and its parking lots, with drivers expected to pay more to be able to secure parking.
According to the proposed plan, which is currently in the tendering stage, drivers should expect to pay from as high as N$8 per hour and the lowest fare being set at N$3 per hour in the periphery of the CBD.
“The current on-street parking system is over 25 years old and the City is unable to get spare parts, make tariff adjustments or maintain the system. Technology advancements long bypassed the current system, which has exceeded its life expectancy. Further, the City decided to move away from cash and include a system that gives more payment options, being more user friendly. Money is retrieved from the current meters using straws, and mostly the meters remain out of order until such objects are removed,’CoW spokesperson Harold Akwenye to the Windhoek Observer.
Despite the new system likely to put a further dent on drivers, especially those are employed in the CBD but have no parking at their place of employment, who have endured continuous fuel price hikes, Akwenye said the system will decongest parking in the CBD.
“The objective is to better control parking and ensure a higher turnaround, availing more parking opportunities for the residents, while knowing parking is a problem. The parking rates were not adjusted for 10 years because the system could no longer accommodate same. The parking tariffs that were approved remain market related and compare fairly with similar rates of public parking facilities.
No parking tariff increase is foreseen for 2019/2020 because the City could still not implement these rates with the old system. At present there is a shortage of parking especially within the core of the CBD and the intention is to create a faster turnaround to make parking more frequently available. On-street parking is intended for short term parking while long term parking is discouraged. Further it is envisaged to extend the metered areas, to better control parking and prevent motorists from occupying spaces for longer periods up to the entire day.”
Quizzed on the impact on hike on drivers, the CoW spokesperson urged them to consider using public transport.
“Motorists are equally encouraged to make more frequently use of public transport or walk longer distances. This equally falls in line with the City’s initiative to improve public transport and implementation of the Non-motorized Transport Strategy,” Akwenye said.
When asked if consultations had been held with residents over the planned implementation of the costly system, he said, “The system did not change, residents still have to pay per hour or part thereof when making use of the parking space. This has not changed. Only the management and processes will change. A new on street parking legislation was approved in 2016 which governs how on-street parking should be managed. All tender proposals must remain compliant with such regulation. The new tariff was already approved and gazetted in 2018/2019, which remains reasonable considering that no inflation adjustments were made for the past 10 years.”
He said the current city bylaws allowed for an increase in parking fees and other penalties that might come if motorists do not comply with the proposed rates.
“Council as per Local Authorities Act is allowed to review all its tariffs annually, similar to rates and taxes. Meanwhile parking infringements and related fines remain separate law enforcement matters that has nothing to do with the parking meter system. The new system can however pinpoint areas that have the highest experienced infringements to conduct selected law enforcement.”
When asked if government and council officials will also be subjected to pay the parking fees, the CoW Spokesman said, “All parking exemptions will be as per 2016 Parking Meter Regulations of the City of Windhoek. To date only certain government vehicles are exempted from paying. These were approved by the Government. All emergency vehicles are equally exempted. Everyone making use of on-street parking within the CBD and perimeter, forming part of the metered area should pay for parking. A map of the metered area and corresponding tariffs applicable will be made available to the public.”