Hospital set to be car-free area soon

SOON TO GO: Car parks for the public at Christchurch Hospital will soon be a tihng of the past.
SOON TO GO: Car parks for the public at Christchurch Hospital will soon be a tihng of the past.

Christchurch Hospital will soon become a car-free zone, but authorities are still deciding how to ferry people to and from the central-city site.

The hospital will lose about 150 car parking spaces when preparation work on the new acute services building starts.

A start date could not be confirmed by Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB), but a hospital committee report stated it would begin on September 6.

"The only remaining parks on-site will be disability car parks, allocated parks for midwives and key hospital staff who need rapid access 24/7," CDHB spokeswoman Carolyn Gullery said.

A trial "park and ride" scheme was likely to start in mid-September for about 200 patients who visited the hospital for daily treatment, she said.

Eligible patients were being notified directly about the details.

A park and ride scheme for all other patients, visitors and support people was still being finalised and would be implemented "some weeks" after the trial programme, she said. An agreement with the landowner had not been signed.

Gullery said the scheme would offer people paid car parking at a base site, but the ride to and from the hospital would be free.

For medical emergencies, security staff would provide an "emergency drive and drop" service.

Only DHB clinicians and midwives and those with life-threatening emergencies would be eligible.

"People will be able to pull up outside one of the main entrances, give their details and keys to security who will park their car in a secure park nearby," Gullery said.

Further demand for parking would be created by the arrival of up to 800 construction workers at the site. Off-site parking solutions for contractors would be investigated to ensure the effect on local parking was minimised.

Christchurch City Council road corridor operations manager Paul Burden said almost 2000 car parks were available for patients, visitors and staff in the area near Christchurch Hospital and Christchurch Women's Hospital.

Of those, about 750 were on-street free or metered parks on nearby streets, and 1200 were off-street parks.

At last week's board meeting, CDHB chief executive David Meates said the former Canterbury Draught brewery site, which has 750 to 800 spaces, would be available until March.

The Press