Vehicle access to Christchurch's Summit Rd could be restricted to prevent boy racers

Christchurch City Council is considering restricting vehicle access to parts of the Summit Rd on four nights a week to ...
GEORGE HEARD/STUFF

Christchurch City Council is considering restricting vehicle access to parts of the Summit Rd on four nights a week to prevent vandalism and boy racers from using the area.

Vehicle access to a vast stretch of Christchurch's Summit Rd could be restricted to prevent boy racers using the area.

Christchurch City Council is seeking public feedback on a proposal to prohibit vehicles weighing under 3500 kilograms using about 18 kilometres of the Summit Rd between Rapaki and Gebbies Pass roads from 10pm to 5am on Thursdays through to Monday morning and on public holidays.

Worsleys Rd from Summit Rd to the start of the Worsley Spur Track was also included in the restriction. 

The council will make its final decision on the road closure in November.
GEORGE HEARD/STUFF

The council will make its final decision on the road closure in November.

There would be no restrictions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

READ MORE:
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Property owners, residents and their "bona fide" visitors, as well as cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles weighing more than 3500kg, would still have access during the restricted hours, a council consultation document said.

The restrictions have been proposed as a way to stop antisocial driver behaviour, vandalism, graffiti, diesel spills on roads, fire and the dumping of rubbish, which residents and Summit Rd custodians have been complaining about for years. 

"The Summit Rd is a popular recreational area with ecological significance," the consultation document said.

"It is vulnerable to fires as seen recently (in February's Port Hills blazes) and historically with the burning of the Sign of the Bellbird in 2015. It is in the interests of the city to protect this asset."

Council transport operations manager Aaron Haymes​ said the concern about fire risk existed before the Port Hills fires, but the spread and devastation caused highlighted the need for more protections to be in place. 

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The restriction, which would be put in place under the council's cruising bylaw, would be monitored and enforced by police. The council has already used the bylaw to ban boy racers in certain areas of the city.

"The proposed restrictions allow the council to support police enforcement of antisocial road use," Haymes said. 

He said the council had not proposed an all-week restriction to minimise any inconvenience to other road users.

Governors Bay resident Rosie Belton said the proposal was a positive first step, but she wanted to see road access restricted every night of the week.

"We are impacted on a daily basis by what goes on up the hill."

She was often tailgated, overtaken on blind corners and had come across cars on the wrong side of the road while either travelling home or into the city.

"It's absolutely horrendous."

Belton wanted the council to put a bar across the road and give keys to residents to prevent non-resident traffic from using Summit Rd during the restricted hours.

She realised some people might be upset by such a restriction, but said people needed to look at what was best for the area as a whole.

"There's always going to be some people that ruin it for other people."

If people wanted to take photographs they could park at the Sign of the Kiwi car park and walk, Belton said. 

Summit Rd Advisory Committee chairman Paul Loughton said the committee was in favour of the restriction and hoped it would stop the repeated vandalism along the road.

He said most law-abiding citizens had gone home by 10pm and if people wanted to look over the city they could still do so from the Sign of the Kiwi car park or the other end of the Summit Rd. 

The advisory committee administers the Summit Rd Protection Act, which aimed to preserve and protect the area.

Cashmere Ward councillor Tim Scandrett, who has been pushing for action on Summit Rd, said it was not just about preventing boy racers, but was also about protecting one of the city's most valuable assets.

The council was seeking people's views until August 4. A final decision would be made by the council in November. 

 - Stuff

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