Copenhagen-style separate cycleways planned
Christchurch's push to become a premier cycling city is gaining momentum with ambitious plans for separating cyclists and motorists on busy routes.
Ambitious new guidelines for the design of cycling facilities in Christchurch have been approved by the city council's environment and infrastructure committee and should get approval from the full council this month.
The guidelines map out how new cycleways should look and come as the council considers imposing a $20 levy on ratepayers to help pay for the proposed $70 million network.
Research was done around the country and overseas before drawing up the guidelines, which are designed to ensure that network takes advantage of international best practice.
They recommend that major cycleways in busy urban areas should feature Copenhagen-style separated cycle paths and Dutch-style intersections with corner islands that keep cyclists and vehicles separate.
In residential areas, the guidelines recommend the council use simple measures such as lower speeds, traffic restraints, way-finding, crossing treatments and landscaping to create neighbourhood greenways that are friendly for walking and cycling.
In parks and reserves, the guidelines advocate the creation of shared pathways.
Council transport policy planner Ruth Foxon told councillors the aim was to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for cyclists so that more people would cycle more often.
She said many of the ideas being proposed in the guidelines would have to be successfully trialled, in conjunction with the NZ Transport Agency, before they were rolled out across the cycleway network as they had not previously been used in New Zealand.
Cr Sally Buck said she was thrilled with the contents of the guidelines but was worried the council might not get to put them to use. Guidelines had been drawn up in the past but not implemented.
"When is this going to happen?'' she said.
Council strategy and planning general manager Michael Theelen said the difference now was the council had a capital programme in place that committed it to promoting cycling in the city through providing better, safer facilities.
"We've probably got the clearest commitment in the [draft] TYP (three-year plan) that we've ever had in terms of lifting our game when its comes to providing for cycling in this city,'' he said.
Cr Sue Wells, a keen cyclist, said the guidelines represented a major step forward in the council's commitment to making Christchurch more cycle-friendly. "This is the silver lining. It's exactly what I hoped for.''