Cycleways project a priority for Council
Work on sections of Christchurch City Council’s Major Cycleways network will start this year, and consultation has already started with residents affected by the first of the routes.
“Council wants to build the cycleways as quickly as possible and planning is well in hand to open sections of the high-priority routes over the coming summer,” says Councillor Phil Clearwater, chair of the Environmental Committee.
“That includes the Papanui Parallel through Rutland Reserve where residents have been contacted directly and a public meeting is scheduled for Monday at Paparoa Street School. These activities are part of public consultation around the proposed use of the reserve for the cycleway.
“Work on the new signal-controlled crossings on Deans Avenue at the city end of the Northern Line Cycleway and on the Uni-Cycle will start after winter and public consultation with affected residents is about to get underway,” says Councillor Clearwater.
In 2013-2014 the Council would spend $1.78 million on the Major Cycleways project and $8.31 million the following year.
Councillor Clearwater says building the network is a complex, large-scale project.
“Designing and building a cycleway network of this kind is similar to the work that’s needed to design and build new roadways, and requires a great deal of detailed analysis and preliminary work.
“The Council wants to set a new standard with its Major Cycleways, providing a network that addresses the safety concerns of the community. This project aims to elevate levels of service above what has been previously provided. We are talking about much more than simply painting lines on the roadside.
“Where they are on busy roads riders will be physically separated from the other traffic lanes. To achieve this improved standard requires a considerable amount of planning and consultation. In some locations land purchase will also be necessary.”
Mr Clearwater says while the recent tragic death of a cyclist in the city highlights the need to deliver improved facilities quickly, this was a project that would be difficult to speed up..
“If we are to genuinely provide a safe, connected network above the standard we have done before, we need to make sure we get the planning and detailed design right. That is the advice we have received from international transport expert Leo de Jong from the Netherlands, who spent last week in Christchurch helping with the Major Cycleways planning and design.”
It is these practical considerations, and not budget constraints, that led to a decision to extend delivery over eight years instead of five, Mr Clearwater says. The start date of the project was not affected.
The proposal is outlined in the draft Annual Plan.
Spreading the work over eight years will deliver the standard of cycleway required to improve safety and encourage new cyclists to take up cycling, Mr Clearwater says. On busy routes, this will mean riders being separated from motor vehicles.
“By separation, we don’t mean physical barriers you may see on a bridge like the guard rails.
“There are many ways to introduce separation and people are more likely to see low-profile dividers, landscaping and other design techniques that clearly and safely separate riders from vehicular traffic.”
For more information and FAQs on the Major Cycleways, go to www.ccc.govt.nz/cycleways
To read the draft Annual Plan and find out about the submissions process, go to www.ccc.govt.nz/annualplan