More buses on fewer routes in CCDU plan
The number of bus routes into the new central business district (CBD) will be slashed under the Christchurch Central Development Unit's (CCDU) plan to improve public transport connections.
The CCDU, in its draft transport plan, proposed to consolidate the number of bus routes into the CBD from about 40 before the earthquakes to just seven core routes.
It claims the route cuts will not disadvantage public transport users as the frequency of buses on those routes will be increased to maintain capacity. Services on the core network will be every 10 minutes in peak periods and every 15 minutes at other times. Currently, bus users wait about 30 minutes.
Priority public transport measures, such as special green lights for buses, will also be provided at key intersections to ensure fast and reliable bus journeys.
Most of the core routes will be along the edge of the CBD's core, along Manchester and Tuam/St Asaph streets. With the exception of Tuam and St Asaph streets, the buses will generally run on two-way roads so inbound and outbound stops are close to each other, making the routes simple for people to understand and use.
No buses will go through Cathedral Square.
A new bus interchange will be built on the site of the temporary interchange in the block bounded by Tuam, Colombo, Manchester and Lichfield streets.
To be completed by 2017, it will provide comfortable waiting areas for passengers and will have retail outlets and cycle storage facilities. The area in and around the bus interchange will be able to cater for inter-city coaches, airport transfers and taxis, so the interchange will become a transit point for residents and visitors.
Two high-quality "super stops" will be provided near Christchurch Hospital and in Manchester St. These will provide passenger waiting facilities sheltered from the weather and real-time information on bus services. The hospital stop is designed to give people easy access to the planned metro sports facility, health precinct and south frame, while the Manchester St stop will provide passengers with a walking link into the north core of the CBD.
"We're conscious that the interchange is down to the south-east of the core and we want to make sure we have good service both to the . . . south-west corner and . . . the northern section of the core," CCDU director Warwick Isaacs said.
Isaacs said Environment Canterbury had been closely involved in the development of the draft transport plan, and the proposals aligned with its plans to introduce a new "hubs and spokes" bus network in Christchurch.
Isaacs said the unit had not considered introducing commuter rail as the Government had signalled it was unwilling to pick up the tab.
However, steps had been taken to "future-proof" the transport network to keep light-rail options open.
PLAN GIVES PEDESTRAINS RIGHT OF WAY
Getting around the central business district by foot will be easier than ever before under the Christchurch Central Development Unit's (CCDU) draft transport plan.
The plan maps out proposals to create better streets for pedestrians and a network of new walking routes that take advantage of the additional park space that will be provided in the city centre through the Avon River Precinct and the eastern and southern frames.
These walkways will give people easy passage around the core of the city centre.
In the core, footpaths will be widened and traffic slowed to 30kmh to maximise pedestrian safety and encourage people to walk rather than drive through the area.
The new retail precinct in the blocks on either side of City Mall will be for pedestrians only although there will be service access from lanes running through the blocks. Most of Cathedral Square will also be for pedestrians only.
The east-west streets running between Hagley Park and the slow core will be improved to provide attractive and safe pedestrian routes.
As the central city redevelops, authorities will consider opportunities for providing attractive, safe through-block connections and laneways, predominantly in the north-south direction.
Many of these proposals have their roots in the Share an Idea campaign run by Christchurch City Council last year.
The community had sought a pedestrian-friendly central city, with integrated green walkway networks with wider footpaths, good lighting and safe street crossings.
CCDU director Warwick Isaacs said a key aim of the proposed new transport system was to create people-friendly spaces and an important aspect was ensuring it was easy and safe to get around the city on foot.
"All this is about making the central city a great place to live, work, use and shop - all those things that are very important to the recovery of the central city," Isaacs said.
"The river park and the frames are great opportunities for really lovely walking routes."
CYCLISTS TO GET SMOOTHER AND SAFER RIDE IN THE INNER CITY
Transport planners hope improved cycling facilities in the central city will see more people turning to pedal power.
They have included an extensive network of off-road cycle routes in the draft transport plan for the new CBD and propose a raft of changes to improve the safety of on-road cyclists.
Cycle-parking facilities will be provided at convenient locations, including at the new bus interchange and the "super stops" near the hospital and Manchester St, thus offering the chance to travel by a combination of cycling and public transport.
The Christchurch Central Development Unit plans to encourage building developers to provide cycle parking.
Off-road cycling routes through the Avon River precinct and the southern and eastern frames will allow cyclists to travel safely and quickly around the edge of the CBD core. These cycling routes will be separated, in most places, from walking routes.
In the CBD's inner core, the 30kmh speed limit will improve safety for cyclists sharing space with cars.
Where necessary, roads prioritised for cycling will have separate cycle lanes to allow safe routes for all users. Other streets may also have improved, safer cycle facilities, including safe crossing points.
CCDU director Warwick Isaacs said the inner zone would be "far more pleasant for walking and cycling than it was previously".
"At a maximum of 30km an hour, you can have pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles sharing space a lot more safely than you can if cars are travelling at 50 [kmh]," Isaacs said.
"We're not envisaging there's going to be a great need for separated cycle routes within that inner zone for that reason."
Isaacs said the proposed cycle routes had been designed to link with others being developing outside the CBD to create an integrated network.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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