The Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister recently used legislative power to remove parking requirements from Lyttelton in an attempt to stimulate growth.

Parking requirements have long been identified as an insidious planning tool that is criticised by movements like #blackfridayparking. At any given moment there are probably over 3 million cars just parked in NZ, doing nothing. That’s at least 4,000 hectares (almost 2% of the 2012 urban land). It’s an incredibly inefficient way to use land.

Current planning rules and road design manuals don’t presume on-street parking. Rather, it is assumed that all vehicles will be parked on private land. This means that not only are roads designed predominantly for cars, they are designed only for when cars are actually being used. This has been estimated to be as low as 5% of the time. It’s a huge waste of money for everyone.

Roads aren’t just for access. They’re shared public spaces. Every district plan should have minimum parking requirements removed or replaced with maximum parking requirements. Roads should be built with parallel parking. How can parking requirements in Lyttelton be any different to the rest of NZ? The effects are the same – more walking, cycling and public transport; less driving!