Christchurch residents urge council to change cycleway routes

Plans by Christchurch City Council to build 13 new cycleways across the city are progressing.
KIRK HARGREAVES/FAIRFAX NZ

Plans by Christchurch City Council to build 13 new cycleways across the city are progressing.

Plans for two cycleway routes have hit speedbumps after residents and business owners urged the council to reconsider.

The Christchurch City Council planned to put the 4.9 kilometre, $14.48 million Papanui Parallel cycleway through a number of St Albans streets but residents told the council's Infrastructure, Transport and Environment committee on Tuesday they were concerned about safety issues and were upset the plan would drastically reduce car parks.

Linwood residents and business owners were concerned about plans to limit access to and from Worcester Street from Fitzgerald Avenue and England Street, as part of the 6.5km $22.4m Rapanui Shagrock cycleway. They said the move would be a death knell for nearby businesses.

The cycleways are part of a wider council programme to create 13 cycleways throughout the city. The entire project, forecast to cost more than $162 million, was aimed at making cycling in Christchurch safer and more appealing. The Government was contributing about $42 million toward the project. 

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The committee approved the Papanui Parallel cycleway, and a section of the Rapanui Shagrock cycleway from Fitzgerald Ave to Linwood Park excluding one portion which was being consulted on separately. However, the councillors did not approve closing Worcester St at England St and asked staff to come up with other options to ensure it remained a through road.

Earlier in the meeting, Avon City Backpackers owner Irinka Britnell said restricting access to Worcester Street at Fitzgerald Ave for the Rapanui Shagrock cycleway would put at risk the viability of Linwood Village and surrounding businesses.

"Who on earth devised such an inconsiderate plan?"

Rutland Street Action group member Meg Agnew pleaded with the committee not to make any decision on the Papanui Parallel cycleway because there were still too many unanswered questions.

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She criticised the council's consultation saying the whole process has been a "catastrophic communication breakdown".

Rutland Street resident and St Albans Catholic School board member David Lloyd said having two footpaths, two cycle lanes and two lanes of traffic outside the school was a recipe for disaster.

"This is a very congested piece of road, please do not put a cycleway here too."

Council project manager Brendan Bisley said the decision to go down Trafalgar, Rutland and Colombo streets was not an easy one and was fiercely debated within his team, but was considered as the best option.

A number of car parks originally planned to be removed would now be reinstated, including those outside the school, Bisley said.

Matt Butterfield, the owner of a childcare centre in Trafalgar Street, questioned the route and believed the cycleway should be put on Cranford St or Papanui Rd.

"There is absolutely no common sense to zig-zag through already congested streets. Why complicate things by zig-zagging through these streets and upsetting everyone?"

Committee chairman Cr Phil Clearwater said the council was installing the cycleways away from the main roads so people would feel safe enough to cycle.

New Zealand Trucking Association chief executive David Boyce said it was good to see the cycleways taken off key arterial routes, because trucks and cyclists did not mix.

Clare Simpson, of cycling advocacy group Spokes, said the group was concerned that too much importance had been put on maintaining car parks. 

"We don't travel somewhere to park...if parking is not available we find a way to get there." 

Cr David East said it was challenging trying to retrofit cycleways into existing infrastructure. 

 

 - Stuff

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