Draft Christchurch Central City Parking Policy

We are reviewing how we manage parking in the central city, in particular on-street parking. Our proposed Central City Parking Policy will help us make decisions about how we use space and provide safer and more people-friendly streets.

Project status: Decision made
Open for feedback: 26th January 2021 - 22nd February 2021

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Our city has been through significant land-use changes and continues to face a number of challenges. The Central City Parking Policy supports our efforts to make the central city a vibrant place to live, work, shop and socialise, and our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Each year we receive a number of requests to reallocate on-street space, particularly in and around the Central Business District (CBD). These can be requests for loading zones, customer short-stay parking (P10 to P120), passenger drop-off and pick-up, and coach parking for hotels. The requests often propose substitution one type of parking for another. It’s important we have a consistent approach to guide our decisions about different uses of space.

The focus of the Central City Parking Policy is a framework to guide future decisions on the allocation of on-street parking in our central city and certain other parking-related matters, including to signal a review of the approach to temporary off-street car parking.

To develop this draft Policy, Council staff met with a range of central city businesses, community and residential interest groups and representatives to share information about central city parking and understand their views. 

The following goals have guided the development of the policy framework presented in this document and will also guide the implementation of that framework:

Promote 85% occupancy of parking spaces in the central city at peak times

Valuable space that is provided for parking in the central city needs to be well used. A target of 85% occupancy (international good practice) provides a balance of good utilisation with maintaining available parking spaces close to where people want them. By supporting higher turnover of spaces, more people can benefit from fewer spaces with different people using the space at different times of day, and different days of the week. This is generally preferable to a single vehicle using a single space all day to the exclusion of everyone else.

Support greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets

Through the Paris Agreement internationally, the Climate Change Response Act nationally, and Council’s carbon goals, we have committed to significantly reducing the amount of greenhouse gas that we produce as a city. The cost and availability of parking influences our carbon footprint through choices made about whether to drive, travel by a more sustainable mode, or not to travel at all. The location of the central city, in conjunction with density of destinations, means that public and active transport are reasonable access choices for more people than other lower density or less central destinations that tend to be car dependent, or service a lower number of visitors. As part of supporting the uptake of sustainable modes like cycling and scooting, we also need to ensure we support parking for those modes.

Support high amenity off-street parking that makes efficient use of space

The number of people that we will need to accommodate in the central city in the future is likely to increase. Mode shift to active and public transport will be a vital part of managing any increase. Parking takes up a lot of valuable space in the central city - approximately 25-30m2 per vehicle. Multi-storey parking buildings can make efficient use of limited space and can be fronted by retail, offices or other attractions, improving the attractiveness of the central city. Council’s actions, however, can affect the commercial feasibility of private sector investment in these types of parking facilities.

Support a vibrant, people-friendly, central city

The Parking Policy must recognise and help to resolve the tension between providing space for parking to enable vehicle access and having sufficient development and amenity to make the central city a place people want to live, work and visit. The central city is growing in terms of employees, residents, commercial activity and visitors and is forecast to continue to do so, in particular with the major anchors of Te Pae, the Metro Sports Facility and the Multi Use Arena all opening in the coming years. The Parking Policy must support a balance of providing permanent parking with the allocation of space for more sustainable and space-efficient modes, and ultimately space for social and commercial activity. We need to continue to foster a strong public-private sector partnership to ensure we understand the challenges businesses face and how we can share information and collaborate to achieve mutually desired outcomes.

Improve our parking data and information

A good understanding of the amount, type and utilisation of parking spaces is useful for both users of parking, and also those making decisions about parking, including for understanding the likely implications of any changes to parking. Historically, data has been collected for a wide range of purposes and this policy provides an opportunity to consolidate all of this information and maintain a single source moving forward.


The Central City Parking Policy is made up of a suite of policies. There will always be a need for case-by-case assessment of changes to our parking, but these policies will help promote more consistent and transparent decision-making, as well as better alignment with the Council’s strategic priorities.

Read the suite of policies [PDF, 1021 KB]


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Who to contact

Katy McRae,
Engagement Manager

How the decision is made

  • Decision made