Draft Suburban Parking Policy

We’re drafting a policy on suburban parking and we’d like to hear your views.

Project status: Decision made
Open for feedback: 17 October 2018 to 21 November 2018

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We are reviewing how we manage suburban parking, in particular on-street parking, to help prioritise public space and create safer and more people friendly streets. This consultation document includes draft  policies to address the challenges with  managing suburban parking.

Our suburban streets play an important role for both  residents and the city as a whole. They provide space  for people to move around the city, green space, places to meet and socialise, and they often provide  parking. This creates competing demands for space  with dedicated cycle or public transport lanes, landscaping and areas to socialise often impacting on parking spaces. 

This Policy is about developing a Christchurch-wide strategy on how to address these competing demands for public space in suburban streets and council car parks. It aims to provide more innovative  and consistent solutions to parking issues that make  suburban areas more pleasant and cohesive places to be. It also seeks to balance the needs of people travelling through suburban centres and those living,  working and socialising in those areas. This will then  shape how the Council manages parking issues in individual areas where parking issues are identified.   

In September 2016 Council sought community feedback on the issues and options for suburban parking. During the engagement, Council received  214 submissions. The feedback received has been  used to inform this document (the draft Suburban Parking Policy). This draft Policy covers suburban  areas outside of the central city, a parking plan for the central city has already been adopted by Council  in 2015.

Providing parking offers many benefits for the community, but there are also costs to providing parking (such as providing road space, environmental impacts, increased traffic, financial  and opportunity costs, urban sprawl, and safety  issues). These costs and benefits have been carefully  evaluated and considered against the broader role of Council to determine the appropriate response to managing parking.

Council is seeking your views on the draft Policy. 

For more information go to: https://ccc.govt.nz/transport/parking/suburbanparking

Shows variety of road space uses


Purpose of this document

The purpose of this document is to gather feedback on the draft policy for how  Christchurch City Council could better manage the car parking that it provides  in suburban Christchurch (i.e. outside of the central city defined by the four Avenues). The document identifies draft policies to address the issues.  

The process for developing the policy is outlined in in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Suburban parking policy process


This document addresses Council owned car parking, and excludes privately  owned parking. Council’s role in suburban car parking is outlined in Appendix 1. The majority of the parking maintained and managed by Council in suburban  areas is on-street parking. The recently completed District Plan Review and  central city Parking Plan provide guidance and direction for private parking and central city parking respectively. It is now an opportune time to review the  management of Council car parking, in particular on-street parking outside of  the central city. 

This Policy does not propose any changes to any car parks 

The document provides a draft policy framework to guide future decisions on car parks. There will still be a case by case assessment on changes to any car parking, and consultation as appropriate to any situation. However the policy  framework will promote more consistent decision making across the city. 

Policy context

Parking is a vital component of the transport system and supports the city’s economy. This is how the draft Policy fits into the wider parking picture:

Parking flow diagram


In most suburban areas of Christchurch, un-restricted on-street parking is available.  Occupancy rates are generally low, so there  are no real issues for residents, businesses  and their visitors to find a park on-street. There are, however, some suburban areas  where there is an increasing and high demand for parking from both residents, businesses and commuters, which makes  it diffžicult to find a park and puts pressure  on road space. These areas are generally located within walking distance from popular destinations, such as commercial centres, business parks, the university and airport. It also includes areas that are increasing in density following the post-earthquake shift in commercial activity to the suburbs. Areas where time-limit restrictions have already been implemented are illustrated in Map 1.   

Map 1: Areas where time-limit restrictions have been introduced

Map 1: Areas where time-limit restrictions have been introduced

Our streets have many uses, they provide  space for people to move, greet and to stop. This creates competing demands for road space. The post-earthquake shift in residents and businesses has also increased traffžic movements, and resulted  in situations where travel time reliability is worsening. In response to these issues, the Council is constructing cycle lanes, bus priority measures and improving footpath and street amenity. The aim is to ožffer more travel choice to keep people  moving and to create more people friendly  streets and public spaces. Implementing  these measures creates tension around the allocation of road space, including how much space is provided for on-street parking.  

This draft Policy addresses these issues and a number of specific parking issues in Christchurch. These are outlined in Appendix 2 and the draft Suburban Car  Parking Policy — Issues and Options Discussion Document (2016). Grass berm  parking violations have not been covered  in this policy as it is addressed in the Traffžic and Parking 2017 bylaw.

Animation showing a busy suburban street

The Policy

Policy 1:

Prioritise suburban road space according to the table below.

Council has had a policy of prioritising kerb side road space for many years. It is proposed that this will continue in a more consolidated form. Road space will be prioritised in the following  order and in the following areas: 

Road priority matrix

Table 1: Road priority matrix

This policy means that certain kerb side road space will be prioritised over others, depending on whether  it is a residential,  commercial, or other area.

* The 2nd priority movement and amenity will be provided in accordance with the Road Use Hierarchy (refer to Appendix 3). 

This means that:

• vehicle movement will take priority over amenity on streets that are key transport corridors;

• movement for buses will take priority on core bus routes;

• movement for cycles will take priority on major cycle routes;

• movement for pedestrians will take priority in areas with high pedestrian footfall;

• movement for freight will take priority on the strategic freight routes; and

• movement of traffžic will take priority on the strategic traffžic routes.



(Note: movement includes wider footpaths, cycle lanes, bus lanes, and tražic lanes. Amenity includes landscaping and street furniture.)

Policy 2:

Consistently apply the parking management criteria in areas of high parking demand, on a case by case basis.

In suburban areas with the highest parking demand (defined as areas where occupancy  of on-street parking regularly exceeds 85%), case by case assessments will be made to determine the Council response.

To provide a consistent response to each case, on-street parking shall be managed using  the following parking management criteria:

Parking management criteria table

Policy 3:

Implement resident exemption parking areas in locations where occupancy levels for time restricted spaces regularly exceed 85% at peak times, as per Policy 2.

In accordance with the Traffžic & Parking Bylaw 2017, resident exemption parking areas will be introduced, alongside time-limit  restrictions, to prioritise resident and short-term parking and deter commuter parking. Each area will be considered through a case by case assessment to determine what other parking options are available for residents (for example, driveways, nearby parking, and on-site parking).

Residents will be able to purchase parking permits to allow an exemption to time restriction within a defined area. Due to the permit applying to the area, it doesn’t guarantee a specific  parking space in the resident’s street. However there will be a cap on the total number of permits available (as a percentage of overall spaces within an area) to ensure that the scheme is viable, and there is likely to be parks available for residents when  they need it. The fee for permits will be set to recover the costs of  administering the scheme.


Parking permits are for residents in the applicable area and proof of address and vehicle registration details will be required.  Residential parking permits will be issued on an annual basis. 

A resident is classed as a person who lives on a street covered by the parking scheme. 

Parking permits for residents will be issued in the following order  of priority:

1. Residents with mobility parking permits.

2. Residents of historic cottages (with existing permits) and no on-site parking or space that could be converted to offž-street parking.

3. Residents of existing houses built before 1995* with no on-site parking or space that could be converted to ožff-street parking.

4. Residents of existing houses built before 1995 with only one offž-street parking space or space that could be converted to offž-street parking. 

5. Residents of all other houses

*1995 was when the Christchurch City District Plan was notified and there was consistent minimum  car parking requirements for houses across suburban Christchurch for the first time.

Visitor Parking

Permits will be made available to cater for visitors and  tradespeople who are visiting properties on a temporary basis. In  order to manage parking demand there will also be a cap on the  number of visitor permits issued.

Policy 4:

Honour existing resident’s only parking space permits. New resident-only on-street parking permits will be allocated within resident exemption parking areas, as per Policy 3.

Council will continue to honour existing residents only parking  space permits. However no new resident-only on-street parking  permits will be allocated once this policy is adopted. Rather if criteria in Policy 2 ‘On-street parking management in areas of high parking demand’ and Policy 3 ‘Residential parking  scheme’ are met a residential exemption parking area will be introduced, as outlined in policy 3. This will allow residents to purchase parking permits which allow an exemption to the time restriction. 

For existing resident’s only permits these will remain valid until: 

• A residents only/residents exemption parking area is proposed in the same area (the scheme will supersede the existing permits and the permit holder will have to apply for  a new permit under the new residential scheme policy); or 

• The residential property is sold, whereby the permit is not transferred to the new owner. The new owner would need  to request Council to investigate implementing a resident exemption area, under Policy 3.

Policy 5:

Deter private businesses from using on-street parking through the application of time restrictions.

Council will continue to ban on-street parking being used by private businesses to store vehicles on the road, as per the Tražffic & Parking bylaw 2017 (Clause 13), and consider using time  restrictions where  the criteria in Policy 2 are met (i.e. demand for on-street parking regularly exceeds 85% at peak time). 

Policy 6:

New ožff-street public parking will not be provided by Council, unless the measures in Policy 2 have been implemented and proven ineffective and the criteria in this policy are met.

The provision of any offž-street parking in suburban areas is the  responsibility of property owners and/or their tenants. Council  does not intend to spend rates on providing new offž-street parking in suburban areas. Rather Council will manage areas of  high parking demand as per Policy 2. Council will only consider  supplying offž-street public parking in certain circumstances where the parking management measures under Policy 2 have  been implemented and have not been successful in managing parking demand and all of the following criteria are met.

i. Unsatisfied demand for parking: Paid on-street parking has been introduced, and occupancy of existing paid parking  spaces in the area regularly exceeds 85% during peak periods (busiest 4 hour periods).

ii. Public transport alternatives are not viable: The current system and planned improvements to the public transport system are not suffžicient to cater for projected travel  demand particularly in dispersed catchments. 

iii. Potential consolidation of parking: The development of offž-street parking provides the opportunity to consolidate multiple parking areas that will provide benefits to the local area through improved amenity and urban design, better traffžic management and safer street access points. 

iv. Road capacity: The road network is able to accommodate the additional traffžic generated as a result of the parking facility, at the times of expected peak demand.

These criteria do not apply to the provision of park and ride/bike  facilities (see Policy 9).

Policy 7:

Review parking restrictions and provisions to improve access for those with restricted mobility.

Council will improve the provision of parking for people with restricted mobility, by undertaking the following:

1. Provide restricted mobility concessions to enable longer parking in time restricted on-street parking.

2. Increase the number of on-street mobility car parks, where there is demand.

3. Maintain existing parks to ensure that they are consistently designed. 

4. Increase the amount of public information on what mobility parking is currently available.

5. Ensure that mobility parks are appropriately enforced in order to deter illegal parking.

Policy 8:

Support the provision of all types of parking, including motorcycle, electric, coaches and bicycles, in additional to vehicle parking, to encourage greater use of alternatives to the single occupant car.


The demand for on-street motorcycle parking in suburban areas  is low. However, in circumstances where there is demand for such provision, Council will seek to provide parking facilities.  Photo showing a girl using an electric scooter
hesewill be assessed on a case by case basis. Illegal parking of  motorcycles on berms is covered by the Traffžic and Parking 2017  bylaw.


The focus on encouraging greater use of this activity is reflected in the priority given to this parking type in the kerbside priority matrix (Policy 1). In areas of high demand Council encourages the introduction of bike corrals. These must be implemented in line with the Structures on Roads policy* and Traffžic and Parking  2017 Bylaw. A Bicycle Corral is an on-street bicycle parking facility that can accommodate many more bicycles than a typical  cycle rack on the footpath. Bike corrals usually occupy an area equivalent to one car parking space with enough space for multiple bicycles. On-street bicycle parking will be designed in line with the Christchurch Cycle Design Guidelines (2013). 

Structures on roads policy PDF (external link)

Electric vehicles

This is expressed in Councils Electric Vehicle Policy, formally adopted in March 2016.

Park and ride or bike

Council will support park and ride/bike facilities which link and are well integrated to major cycleways and public transport. 

Park and bike is the ability to be able to park a car and then bike  for the rest of the journey. Facilities should be secure and could  also provide storage.

Car sharing

This is expressed in Councils Car Sharing policy, formally adopted in March 2016.

Policy 9:

Support and adopt advances in parking management technology to improve parking outcomes.

Advances in parking management technology are shaping how the council manages its parking. Such technologies make  parking more customer friendly, reduce operating costs, and enhance data collection and monitoring.

Council will:

• support technology changes (such as electric charging, smart technology);

• continue to review the extent and type of parking that will be required in the future in response to these technology changes (such as driverless/autonomous vehicles).  

Policy 10:

Review allocation of parking in circumstances where the street is less than 7 meters in width and there are recognised parking issues.

If the carriageway of a street is less than 7 metres in width and there are known access problems (i.e. there are limited places for  vehicles to pass and/or emergency access may be compromised),  Council will propose to remove parking on one side of the street.  This will be done by applying a No Stopping restriction (broken yellow lines) to alternating sides of the street to assist in slowing  vehicles down.


Appendix 1: Council’s role in suburban car parking 

When considering Council’s role in suburban car parking 

it is important to recognise that there are a number of dižfferent types of parking that a number of dižfferent parties provide see figure A1.

There are several ways in which Council can help to shape the  form and function of parking within the city, including Council as  a provider; regulator; an enforcer; and a facilitator of car parking. 

Four images showing different types of parking

Appendix 2: Issues around  suburban parking 

This provides a summary of issues raised by the public through public consultation in 2016 (Suburban Parking Issues & Options Survey) and outlines the advantages and disadvantages  of suburban parking. 

Issue 1:

Pressure for road space

Christchurch City Council manages over 2,300km of roads. 

The road corridor is one of the most important pieces of public  space that Council manages. It allows for the safe movement of people and goods, and is critical to achieving environmental  benefits through the use of grass berms, trees, kerbs and storm  water channels. However, in the majority of suburban streets, a significant proportion of the road space is allocated for the storage of vehicles (i.e. parking). There is only a limited road width (shown in Figure A.2) and there o□en is not enough space to fit everything in, so choices need to be made.

The post-earthquake shift in residents and businesses has  increased traffžic movements, and has resulted in situations where travel time reliability is worsening. In response to these  issues, the Council’s aim is to ožer more travel choice to keep people moving. They are doing this by constructing cycle lanes,  implementing bus priority measures, and improving footpaths  and street amenity. Implementing these measures has and will  continue to result in tension with the provision of on-street  

Whilst in some instances these network developments result in  the loss of some on-street parking, there is increasing evidence  from the experience of other comparable cities, and from Christchurch’s own experience, that reallocating road space from parking to other uses can provide positive benefits. These  include: providing more space for more effžicient movement of  people and goods, increasing amenity, and economic activity in  our streets.

In contrast, there are situations where on-street parking plays a  critical role such as providing access, especially for people with  restricted mobility, and where there is no offž-street parking. 

On-street parking will continue to be a key feature in many areas,  however this needs to be carefully managed. Decisions need to be made about what kerbside road space activity takes priority  on key transport corridors (such as arterial roads, core public transport routes, and major cycleways).

Issue 2:

High demand for parking in residential areas near commercial areas/office parks

In some residential areas in Christchurch, particularly close to offžice parks, commercial centres and large institutions (such as the University and Airport), there is high demand for on-street parking, particularly during ožice and shopping hours. There is also high demand for parking on residential streets surrounding  some schools, especially at the start and end of the school day. 

Having both sides of residential streets parked out with vehicles  can cause issues such as: 

• Safety as parked cars can reduce visibility at intersections and driveways 

• Narrowing of roads, with sometimes insuffžicient room for vehicles to safely pass

• Insuffžicient manoeuvring space for large vehicles (e.g. rubbish trucks, cars with trailers)

• Reduced space for emergency services to park on-street  and get quick access to houses

• Reduced amenity of residential areas when the streets are heavily populated with cars

• Increased traffžic volumes on residential streets from commuters accessing car parks

• Reduced on-street parking available for residents, their visitors and trades people.

Residents contribute to the cost of parking through rates. However commuters that park in free on-street car parks do  not necessarily pay for the true cost of using the car park and  thus choose to drive rather than pay to use public transport.  This further increases tražffic volumes and network delays at  peak times. Often time limits have been introduced to manage residential areas with high demand parking. However these limits apply to all users (residents and commuters).  

Figure A2: Typical cross-section of a suburban street

Issue 3:

High demand parking in some suburban commercial centres

As many businesses have moved post-earthquake from the Central City to suburban areas, there is increasingly high demand  for parking in some suburban commercial centres. Commuters  parking in free on-street car parks do not always pay for the true cost of using the car park and thus choose to drive rather than pay to catch public transport. This further increases traffžic  volumes and network delays at peak times. Currently there is no  metered on-street parking in suburban commercial centres in Christchurch, however there is in the Central City.

Issue 4:

Advances in technology will influence demand

The transport system is experiencing changes in technology that could have impacts on how we traditionally thought about  parking (e.g. driverless vehicles, smartphones, new payment methods). 

Due to these potential changes there is some uncertainty regarding the extent and type of parking that will be required in  the future and this needs to be carefully managed. We may not need as much parking as we currently use and parking will need  to adapt to cope with future technological changes.

Issue 5:

Cost of providing off-street public parking in suburban centres

In most suburban centres Council does not currently provide public offž-street parking. The cost of providing new public offž- street parking can be significant. If council provides new public  offž-street parking, the cost would need to be covered through rates. A new ožff-street parking space can cost $30,000 each.

Issue 6:

Demand for on-street parking from residents of existing houses that have no off-street parking

The District Plan requires that every house (except within the Central City) provides at least one car park on-site. There are, however, some existing houses built before these rules were in place that have no on-site car parks. Traditionally Council has provided on-street parks for these houses. This has meant that  no one else has been able to use these parks, even when the residents are not using them, which is not an effžicient use of road space. 

Issue 7:

On-street parking being used by private businesses

A business (for example, a vehicle mechanic) using public on-street parking for their business needs, by parking their customer’s vehicles on-street during the day, limits the use of the on-street car parks by the wider community. A Council bylaw  currently restricts cars being parked for the purpose of storage in connection with a trade or business. However it is not always  easy to determine whether a parked car is associated with a trade or business.

Issue 8:

Parking on grass berms

In some locations motor vehicles are parking on the grass berms  on the side of the road, which can damage the vegetation. 

This can reduce the amenity of an area, can detract from Christchurch’s Garden City image and can impact on storm water  management. It can also cause a safety issue if cars parked on grass berms block the visibility of intersections and driveways.  The Councils Traffžic & Parking Bylaw 2017 prohibits the parking of vehicles on grass berms and Council can enforce this by issuing infringement notices.

Issue 9:

Providing a sufficient number of on-street parks for people with restricted mobility

Christchurch’s population is aging. By 2041, it is expected that 31 percent of the population will be over 60 (twice as many people as today), and thus there will be more people with restricted mobility. The District Plan and Building code requires a certain amount of parking for people with restricted mobility to be provided in ož-street car parks. Council also provides some  parking for people with restricted mobility on-street. However as the population grows and ages, demand for these on-street mobility car parks will increase. 

Issue 10:

Providing sufficient parking for each parking type

There is a variety of dižfferent types of parking provided for dižfferent types of vehicles and uses, such as loading zones, car parks for people with restricted mobility, motorcycle parks, bicycle parks, coach parking. Ensuring there is suffžicient parking  for each type can be a challenge and needs to be balanced.

Issue 11:

Integrating ‘Park and Bike’ facilities

In some areas people are informally parking on-street (all day) and cycling on to their final destination which increases pressure  on parking in some residential areas. With the major cycleways  being built there could be some locations where it will be more  attractive to park and then bike for the reminder of the journey  on a major cycleway. This could be encouraged and formalised in appropriate locations through “Park and Bike” facilities (the ability to be able to park a car and then bike for the rest of the journey). Facilities could also be provided at park and bike sites  to store bikes, and hire bikes, as well as security.

Issue 12:

Narrow residential streets

On very narrow residential streets (less than 7 metres) overcrowded on-street parking can cause access problems to properties and for emergency services. People sometimes park on the footpath on these narrow streets, which degrades the pedestrian accessibility, safety and amenity of the street. Emergency services require at least 2 .5 metres of clearance to allow for suffžicient access down streets in case of an emergency.  Safe access to properties can be compromised when vehicles are  parked too close to entrances which reduces visibility of other road users. The New Zealand road code requires that “you must  not park or stop your vehicle in front of, or closer than 1 metre to,  a vehicle entrance.” However this is not always adhered to.

Advantages and disadvantages of suburban parking

Providing parking ožffers many benefits for the community, but there are also costs to providing parking to Council. These costs  and benefits need to be carefully evaluated and considered  against the broader role of Council to determine the most appropriate response for managing suburban parking. 

The advantages and disadvantages of providing car parking are summarised in Figure A.3. 

Figure A.3: The advantages and disadvantages of suburban car parking

Appendix 3: Road User Hierarchy (from Network Management Plan)


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