Another free parking trial

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Another free parking trial has been approved by Nelson City Council for the next six months.

The new trial will mean the first hour of parking in Nelson’s CBD will be free. Car owners will then need to pay for time needed after the first hour at an increased rate of $1.50 per hour.

Nelson mayor Rachel Reese says the current free parking trial – which ends next week – showed that free parking did entice more people into the CBD, but car parks were full for longer, meaning fewer spaces for those driving in. “Foot traffic has increased, the city feels welcoming and busy and we are very pleased with that result.  While this wasn’t necessarily reflected in the financial data, many fear their winter would have been much less prosperous if the free parking trial hadn’t gone ahead.”

Rachel says offering the first hour of parking free of charge will provide an incentive for those coming in to shop or dine, while keeping parks free in the city, by offering all-day free parking on the city’s fringes.

Uniquely Nelson manager Cathy Madigan says the plan isn’t what her group would have liked to see implemented and she is concerned about getting a new message across to shoppers, but she’s happy the council are continuing to support the city’s retailers.

“This is a trial and a short term initiative and I look forward to working with council on a longer term one in the future.”

Cathy says the current two hours of free parking had to change to keep the car parks free during the city’s busy summer and because city workers were taking advantage of the free car parking, which was filling car parks intended for shoppers.

Rachel says the trial will be monitored before the council decides next year whether car parking will remain free.