The change applies to the city's 3,400 pay and display metered on-street parking and will allow an estimated 5,440 extra cars to park in the central business district on Sundays.
The Council introduced free parking in the central city in 1996 to encourage weekend shopping. The two-hour limit on Saturdays was introduced in 2002 because too many motorists were using the parks all day, preventing other shoppers from getting a park. As the popularity of Sunday shopping in the central city has increased, a similar thing has happened with all-day Sunday parking.
The Council's Infrastructure Director Stavros Michael says the policy change is about freeing up car park spaces so more people can enjoy the city on weekends.
"The change is about fairness to give more people access to parking in the CBD on weekends.
"People have been parking for much longer than two hours on Sundays and depriving other motorists of the opportunity to shop and do their business or simply have lunch and take a leisurely walk along the Waterfront.
"Shoppers and visitors to the city who want to park for more than two hours in the city on weekends can use the all-day off-street parking options."
The Council's Economy Portfolio Leader, Councillor Jo Coughlan, says the change is fair for everyone and should provide a welcome boost for retailers.
"The two hour time limit on parking means a higher turnover of cars and more people coming into the city which of course is good news for businesses in the CBD," says Cr Coughlan.
The Council's annual central city parking turnover and vacancy surveys show vacancy rates on Sundays are at 8 percent, below the 15 percent target set out in the city's parking policy. A 15 percent vacancy rate is the preferred international standard for managing parking to ensure motorists are likely to find a park.
The following streets will be exempt from the changes:
- Aitken Street
- Pipitea Street
- Kate Shepherd Place
- Mulgrave Street
- Molesworth Street