Christchurch retailers cool on parking cost rise

LOIS CAIRNS AND MICHAEL WRIGHT
Last updated 05:00 23/01/2013

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Parking on central Christchurch's mostly empty streets is to get more expensive from Monday, leaving a major retailer and some motorists concerned.

Since the earthquakes, people have been able to park in some metered spaces on city centre streets for as little as $4 a day but the costs will now rise.

The move has drawn a cool response from some commuters and retailers.

From Monday, many of the meters will revert to hourly charging rates, with limits on how long people can park, while those that remain available for all-day parking will increase in price to between $5 and $7 a day.

Around areas with high visitor turnover, like the Re:Start mall, Rolleston Ave and the arts centre, the all-day parking fee would be removed and a standard fee of $3.10 an hour reintroduced.

Ballantynes managing director Mary Devine said she would have preferred to know in advance.

"We've gone out on a limb as it is to reopen and sustain what we can for the inner city."

She understood scaling back the all-day option to give shoppers priority over workers, but hoped hourly rates would stay competitive.

"We're destination oriented, so that means our customers have to make a real effort to come in, so ease of access and parking is really paramount," she said.

"Anything that impedes that or makes it less appealing to customers certainly makes it incredibly challenging for us."

Recently The Press revealed the revenue collected by the council from on-street parking has slumped dramatically since the quakes because of post-earthquake leniency.

Christchurch City Council road corridor operations manager Paul Burden said the changes would result in a "modest" increase in revenue for the council but that was not the motivating factor. "We're just trying to match demand with supply."

He said the "rationalisation" of the charges reflected the changes that were occurring in the CBD. When the $4-all-day charge was introduced after the quakes, there was very little off-street parking available and the council wanted to ensure that people coming to the city centre for more than two or three hours could have somewhere cheap to park. But in the past 18 months several off-street car parks had opened, so there was now less need for on-street-all-day parking.

THE CHANGES

All-day parking fees on metered CBD car parks will rise from $4 a day to between $5 and $7. Fewer metered car parks offering all-day parking options. Parking on the streets around the Re:Start mall will generally cost $3.10 an hour.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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