Plan's lack of light rail 'short-sighted'

OLIVIA CARVILLE
Last updated 05:00 16/11/2012

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The lack of light rail in the Government's central-city transport plan is short-sighted, Mayor Bob Parker says.

He has been advocating the development of a citywide rail network since before the earthquakes, and the Christchurch City Council proposed a $406 million light-rail connection between the central city and Canterbury University in its own central-city draft plan in August - a proposal that was excluded from yesterday's Christchurch Central Development Unit draft transport plan.

"The overall plan is pretty good but I think we are being short-sighted by not considering how light rail could be a revitalising feature for the future of the city," Parker said.

"This is a moment in history and it will never be cheaper to put that structure in place."

There was a "scary" number of young people leaving Christchurch, and a light-rail system linking the university to the city centre could encourage "creative, young energy" back into the heart of the city, he said.

"Given the rejigging of secondary and primary schools in the city, why aren't we attacking tertiary with the same energy?"

Parker was not disappointed the plan had excluded light rail because he had never expected it to be included, and there was "plenty of time to add in those elements later on".

He "loved" the slowing of the traffic detailed in the plan but raised concerns over the speed limits on one-way streets remaining at 50kmh.

The plan "satisfied the immediate needs of the city pretty well", and Parker said he was "looking forward to see what the community thinks about it".

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- The Press

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