The trial will be monitored and assessed to see if free parking has a positive impact on retail spend and activity.
This trial comes from discussion and workshops with the relevant community groups and businesses around increasing retail activity in the CBD.
The Traffic Subcommittee, which made the recommendation to council, heard submissions in support of free parking that included the view that the cost of paid parking is a deterrent for shoppers.
Council officers reported that international evidence and recent free parking trials in New Zealand towns and cities does not suggest free parking is an effective strategy to attract more shoppers to the city.
Lower Hutt Mayor, Ray Wallace, says, “We are here to support our retailers and business sector, we considered all views on this issue and see this trial and assessment as the most effective way to see if free parking has a positive impact on retail spend.”
Before a decision is made by Hutt City Council on whether or not to permanently introduce free parking in the HC2 Zone of the CBD, there will be full consultation with residents of Lower Hutt. This is most likely to be part of the annual plan consultation in March and April 2016.
How the trial works
The first hour of parking will be free for pay-and-display car parks, with a two-hour time limit in the HC2 zone (the shoppers zone) of Lower Hutt’s CBD. People parking for one hour or less will not be required to pay for or display a ticket. People parking for more than an hour will be required to pay for and display a ticket. The electronic display on machines that are part of this trial will clearly indicate the parking time limits and charges during the trial. If people make a payment into the machine, it will go towards the second hour of parking and the time they have paid up to will be advised on the screen before the payment is confirmed and then on the printed ticket. The maximum time limit of two hours will still apply and will be enforced to ensure a turnover of parks. Full-day parking areas such as Riverbank car park and HC3 areas are excluded from this trial.