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Christchurch City Council Media Release 17 September 2001

Free Parking Proves Successful

Increased numbers of vehicles have used three City Council car parking building since the first-hour free parking was introduced.

The Lichfield Street and Farmers parking buildings have had more vehicles in August since the promotion started on 1st August compared to the same period last year.

The Crossing is also showing increased numbers over its July 2001 figures (these cannot be compared to last year’s figure as the building was opened in November 2000).

The council decided to introduce the free parking to encourage people who are visiting the Central City for an hour or more to drive straight to a parking building. This will save them money and time.

It will also help reduce traffic congestion over the whole of the Central City and free up on-street parking for people who wish to only pop into the city for a quick errand.

Retailers have promoted the first-hour free as they are keen to keep their customers informed and some have already have used up the entire supply of fliers produced to promote the project.

“Customers are very appreciative of the first-hour parking and I am sure the number of shoppers taking advantage of this offer will continue to increase,” said Richard Ballantyne of Ballantynes.

“We are promoting the free parking as much as we can to our customers and I am sure the Council has made the right decision. This project will do a lot to revitalise the central city area,” he said.

The council is trailing the first hour free parking until the end of June 2002. Free parking will only continue after this point if the numbers in the parking building keeps increasing.

Parking in the Central City is limited and for that reason it is important that the Council manage it to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to access the city, says the Council’s Parking Unit’s Russell Hobbs.

If no controls existed, people working in the Central City would arrive early in the morning, park as close to their work as possible, and stay there for the entire day, he says. This would make parking for others very difficult.

The Council’s parking policies are in place to try to make parking for people with different needs as easy as it can be. Therefore, in areas where parking is in high demand, the Council maintains turnover with charges and time limits, he says.

Contacts: Russell Hobbs Parking Unit 941 8742 or Dave Hinman 371-1804, Central City Policy Leader.

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