Nelsonians will soon be able to give feedback on a Draft Parking Strategy that builds on and aligns with Nelson City Council's goals for sustainable transport, climate change and a people-focussed region.

A four-week engagement process, starting 11 April, was approved unanimously by Council's Infrastructure Committee 30 March 2022.

The Strategy, complemented by more detailed Parking Management Plans (PMPs) for Nelson City Centre, Stoke and Tāhunanui, is a 10-year framework that will guide consistent and transparent decisions around the management of on-street and off-street parking throughout the city.

Infrastructure Chair Brian McGurk says most decisions around parking involve managing competing demands for space both on-street and off-street.

"People have different opinions about how the space on our streets should be allocated and managed, and we also have to consider the legacy of communities designed solely for car use, which currently leaves some people with little choice other than to use a private vehicle to get around.

"Changes to parking management occur at the same time as improvements to alternative ways to travel – such as improved buses coming in 2023 and improved walking and cycling links. Meanwhile, the strategy sets a framework that ensures those in most need of parking (accessibility parks/loading zones) are catered for, and the parking available for others is more fairly priced.

The Strategy includes data showing Nelson currently has enough parking supply to meet visitors' needs even during peak hours. For example, City Centre average occupancy was recorded at 75% at 1pm on a weekday, the busiest time in the City.

Data did show that parks on city fringe streets were being used by commuters working in Nelson. The Strategy includes several ways of addressing this situation, including managing the use of time restrictions, extending paid parking, and improving public and active transport options.

Councillor McGurk says the Strategy strikes a balance between current demand for parking and the shift to more sustainable transport modes on the horizon.

"Parking management is one lever we can use to help meet goals related to our City Centre, sustainable transport and climate change. This isn't about changing things overnight, but it is a foundation for gradually moving towards a more people-focussed city, with genuine sustainable transport options.

"Pre-engagement highlighted congestion as a bigger problem than availability of spaces. Good parking management can keep our roads clear by reducing time spent searching for parks, which has a positive effect on reducing emissions.”

The Strategy sits alongside the concept of a people-focussed City outlined in Te Ara ō Whakatū – Nelson's City Centre Spatial Plan, more frequent public transport services from 2023, and an ever-increasing network of shared pathways and cycle lanes.

To read the full strategy and make a submission from 11 April, please visit

Parking in numbers:

  • City Centre average occupancy at peak time: 75%
  • City Centre parking spaces: 1472
  • City Centre fringe spaces: 2390
  • 5600 people work in Nelson's City Centre
  • Plus 3000 students at NMIT
  • City Centre Residents now: 100
  • Potential city centre homes in 30 years: 800 

Proposed objectives for managing parking in Nelson:

  • Supports shift to more sustainable transport modes and reduced transport related carbon emissions;
  • Supports a people-focused city;
  • Supports inclusive access;
  • Supports economic development;
  • Supports a safe and efficient transport system; and
  • Is valued and managed efficiently