24 Sep 2018

CBD parking problem: 'They'll unfortunately head to a mall'

3:25 pm on 24 September 2018

Some Christchurch businesses are blaming a lack of off-street parking signs for a drop-off in customer numbers.

Christchurch CBD

Christchurch CBD Photo: RNZ/ Logan Church

Businesses said the signs were not clearly visible or were moved after the 2010 and 2011 quakes.

And because many people did not realise the car parks existed, they avoided coming into town.

Black and White Coffee Cartel is struggling to draw customers to its new Lichfield St building.

Owner Chris Meyer said every day they heard complaints about the lack of off-street car parks.

It negatively affected his business, he said.

"We're a six-month-old start-up business, so to be able to have ease for customers to make it to my shops is imperative. At the moment, it is the biggest struggle we're facing right now."

Mr Meyer wished more people knew there were carparks, he said.

"I'm finding from feedback that [the off-street car park buildings are] not too bad to use and people aren't complaining about pricing. However, it's getting them in the first place to be able to find them.

"If someone drives around this block two times and can't see a building to park in, they'll unfortunately head to a mall and support an Australian franchise coffee company."

Supreme Supreme is located on Welles Street. Manager Nathaniel Lafituanai heard of this problem frequently and said people were opting to go elsewhere.

"We're pretty close to a whole lot of businesses ... so as soon as people can't find a park pretty close to us, they'll drift down towards other cafes and try and get parks down there, so we can lose a lot of business."

Restaurant and bar Dux Central has been on Poplar Street since it was established in 2015.

Manager Nick Butcher said people are having trouble finding parks.

"People come in and say 'struggled to find ya' and there's no places to park. The Wilson's car park is out front, but there's a big car park behind us that people still can't really find."

Nick Butcher said it shouldn't be hard to put up signs that work.

"[The signs should be] on the corner of wherever the car park is - may be down the road a wee bit, just saying car park 100 metres up or 50 metres up. Driving around town you only sort've see the signs on the car park buildings themselves. If you're looking for them, they're in pretty discreet places."

Christchurch Business Association manager Paul Lonsdale said the Christchurch City Council needs to get the message out that there are plenty of parks in town.

"There are five off-street car parks [in the central business district]. We're not short on car parks, but what we are short on is good signage for people to find where those car parks are quickly and easily."

Paul Lonsdale said visitors to the city, especially need clearer directions.

"Some of them get quite frustrated because again they don't know how to use the roads that are being created through the accessible city plan. That obviously leads to people getting into situations where they go down wrong streets, get quite frustrated [and] can't find the car parks. It's not a very good way to start their experience in the new city."

In a statement, the Christchurch City Council said it has a project under way to help people make their way around the central city easier.

It had installed 24 signs directing people to off-street parking buildings, with more to be installed later this year.