Council consults on parking

The proposed new parking area for downtown Ashburton is on railway reserve land between Havelock Street and the pedestrian overbridge running between West and East streets.

The community is to have its say on parking across the district, and a new parking area in the West Street railway reserve to the north of Havelock Street is being lined up to provide more parking in the Ashburton central business district.

Ashburton District Council has adopted a new draft parking strategy and is consulting with the community on a draft Ashburton town centre parking management plan.

If the community agrees with the draft strategy and Ashburton plan, the proposed new parking area on West street could provide between 100-130 more parks.

The council has included $1.5 million in Year 1 of the Long Term Plan, but the development of the railway reserve land between Havelock Street and the pedestrian overbridge is subject to approval from both KiwiRail and NZ Transport Agency.

The proposed parking area will be laid out in a similar way to the existing West Street car park and will accommodate all day parking.

There may be some changes to the existing West Street car park time restrictions to accommodate more short term parking for town centre visitors.

The draft parking strategy adopted by councillors at last week’s council meeting on Zoom, provides a framework for managing the future needs and demands of different users.

The previous parking strategy for the district was last updated in 2011.

Ashburton mayor Neil Brown said now was a chance for the public to have their say on parking.

A summary of the parking strategy and draft Ashburton plan would go out for consultation and the public would be asked a number of questions.

Other individual parking management plans could be developed over time for locations like Tinwald, Methven and Rakaia, if appropriate.

Councillor Angus McKay said council had a good history of listening to people and he implored people around the district to have their input.

Abley Consultants were commissioned by council to prepare the new high level draft strategy.

The draft Ashburton parking plan aims to support new streetscape upgrades in the CBD, support and improve the local economy and encourages more environmentally friendly forms of transport like walking and cycling.

Other considerations include the impact of the relocation of the Ashburton library and civic centre and planning to ensuring facilities and infrastructure served an ageing population.

There are about 5253 car park spaces in the Ashburton town centre and council-operated off-street car parking areas include the West Street car park (144 all day spaces, 84 P120 spaces), 330 Burnett Street (36 all day spaces), 344 Burnett Street (32 all day spaces) and Cameron Street car park (55 unmarked spaces).

The current council office on Baring Square West has 91 car park spaces, but the new site on Baring Square East will have just 51.

The existing privately owned temporary paid car park at the corner of Burnett Street and Cass Street (Eastfield) will eventually be developed and has 70 pay and display spaces and about 90 leased spaces.

Consultation on the draft parking strategy and draft Ashburton town centre parking management plan runs until October 6.

Hearings and deliberations are set for October 21 and a final strategy and plan will be adopted by November 17.

-By Mick Jensen