OPINION: Welcome to the Waimakariri District all you people who have moved out here since the quakes, and to the thousands more expected over the next few years.
You might have vaguely heard about traffic snarl-ups on the northern motorway, Marshland Rd, Johns Rd and every other road you can think of to get into Christchurch, but when you hop into your car on Monday morning to drive the 30-minute trip to work and it takes over 60 minutes, you assume it was just a bad day.
Tomorrow will be better wont it? Except that it isn't, and nor is the day after. You are cunning so you decide to leave for your 8am start at 6.30am. Clever thinking but, sorry, everyone else has thought of that first and you will still be in a stop-crawl, bumper to bumper line of traffic from Lineside Rd onwards.
You comfort yourself that things will surely improve when Johns Rd is four- laned. That's a state highway, so surely the work is given priority and carried out 24/7? But no. When there actually is work being done, it starts in the morning in time for peak hour traffic.
Oh well, the Woodend by-pass will speed things up a bit you've heard. But when you check the plans, that's not even starting for 10-15 years.
Never mind, what about public transport? But you've seen buses caught up in the same traffic chaos as the cars, so you rule out that option. You've noticed railway lines in Waipara, Amberley, Rangiora and Kaiapoi so you decide to catch a commuter train to work. You ask your neighbours about the timetable and wonder why they fall about laughing.
Trains? Railway tracks? Those parallel lines running through the district are just for decoration. Relics from a by-gone day when people were so primitive they thought trains were a sensible mode of transport.
So, it's back to the car, and the commute, and the knowledge it's going to get much, much worse as more people move out here. Welcome to the Waimakariri District.
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- The Press