Cycleway go-ahead despite warnings

CONCERNED: Crs Raf Manji and Yani Johanson want alternative cycle lanes looked at.
Joseph Johnson

CONCERNED: Crs Raf Manji and Yani Johanson want alternative cycle lanes looked at.

The city council is sticking to its plan to put a one-way cycleway across the entrance and exit of Christchurch's new bus interchange despite a warning about major safety concerns.

The cycleway on the north side of Tuam St is part of a series of central city roading projects aimed at ensuring buses can access the new interchange on a number of new approach routes when it opens next year.

The Christchurch City Council planned to construct a separated west-to-east one-way cycle lane along the north side of Tuam St until Environment Canterbury (Ecan) questioned its safety. 

WARNING: Margaret Bazley says the current plan leaves cyclists at risk of serious injury or death.
John Kirk-Anderson

WARNING: Margaret Bazley says the current plan leaves cyclists at risk of serious injury or death.

Read more: Cyclists face 'deadly risk'

Councillors were divided about the cycleway's location but the majority voted to forge ahead with the current plan.

Cr Phil Clearwater said if the council voted against the staff recommendation it would "delay the whole central city transport project".

Crs Raf Manji, Jamie Gough and Yani Johanson felt the current location was not the best way of encouraging residents into the CBD and wanted another location to be looked at. 

They echoed the safery concerns raised by Ecan.

Deputy Mayor Vicki Buck said she was not "comfortable with bike meets bus situations" but felt all major concerns had been addressed.

Gough said the cycleway's location "felt like a gigantic mish mash" and he urged his fellow councillors to seek more information. 

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The $53 million interchange is being built between SOL Square, Tuam, Lichfield and Colombo streets and will have 16 bays, giving it the capacity to handle more than 100 buses an hour.

Before it opens, Tuam St will be turned into an east-bound one-way route between Durham and Manchester streets. 

In a deputation to the council on Wednesday ECan chairwoman Dame Margaret Bazley said up to 100 buses would cross the cycleway each hour between 6am and midnight. If the cycleway went ahead it would create a dangerous conflict that could result in deaths.

"The likelihood and severity of this potential conflict should be avoided at all costs," Bazley said.

Council transport and research unit manager Richard Osbourne told councillors extensive work had gone into selecting the best location and staff had not taken the decision to put it on the north side of Tuam St lightly. 

The risks associated with having a cycleway across the entrance and exit of the interchange could be managed through signal controls and electronic warning signs.

 - The Press

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