Funding woes likely to limit cycleways

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 08/02/2013

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Six cycleway projects worth $25.2 million are Christchurch City Council priorities, but money woes mean only half of them are likely to go ahead in the next few years.

The council committed itself last year to making Christchurch more cycle-friendly and asked staff to identify some key cycleway projects that could help it reach that goal.

Staff presented the council's environment and infrastructure committee yesterday with a list of six cycleway routes they think should be given priority, but with a combined cost of $25.2 million, only the top three are likely to be included in the council's next three-year work programme.

The six routes are:

The University of Canterbury route would be a separate cycle route from the university to the central city. The proposed route would pass several schools and is expected to be used by many new cyclists commuting to work, school and university. It is estimated to cost $1.9m.

The Grassmere route would connect the Northlands shopping area and the northern railway pathway to the central city. It would provide a direct alternative to the arterial roads for cyclists to travel into the city centre from the northern suburbs. The projected cost is $3m.

The Little River route would connect Christchurch City to the Little River Rail Trail and is designed to meet the needs of recreational cyclists and commuters. It would cost about $2.7m.

The northern rail route would extend and upgrade the northern and southern sections of the off-road rail pathway from Factory Rd in Belfast, with a link into South Hagley Park, to the central city. The estimated cost is $6.7m.

The Avon River route would connect New Brighton to the central city by the river corridor. It would provide connections to the proposed sporting, recreational and cultural developments for the area, as well as schools and parks. The projected cost of the route is $4.2m.

The Sumner to city cycle route would start at the Ferrymead bridge and end in the city centre. It is primarily aimed at commuter cyclists but is also expected to be popular with weekend recreational cyclists. It would cost about $6.7m.

Cr Sally Buck said she was disappointed that only the top two or three routes were likely to go ahead in the short to medium term. "If we really want to achieve what we want in terms of a cycle city, it is not enough."

Cr Claudia Reid said the council needed to put "its money where its mouth had been" and push harder to secure funding for the cycleways.

Acting committee chairman Cr Aaron Keown, who bought a bike on Wednesday and has committed to cycling at least once a week, said he doubted whether more cycleways would result in more people cycling.

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He said many people used safety concerns as an excuse not to cycle when the real reason was they were lazy.

"People are lazy and cycling is not cool," Keown said.

If the council wanted its cycleways to be a success, it should be "spending a fortune on marketing" to change people's perceptions of cycling, he said.

 

- The Press

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