Residents fear bus-stop hoons

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 25/05/2013
Main North Rd traffic
DON SCOTT/Fairfax NZ

SUPER STOP: Traffic at Main North Rd, outside Northlands mall. The proposed super-sized bus shelter would be installed at right.

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Residents living opposite busy Northlands Mall are battling to stop a super-sized covered bus shelter being installed outside their properties.

The "super stop" forms part of Environment Canterbury's new "spoke and hub" public transport network and is designed to provide bus users with a safe, clean and dry place to wait for their connecting bus.

But residents living on the eastern side of the Main North Rd are unimpressed with having a 16-metre covered bus shelter right on their doorstep. They worry it will make exiting and entering their properties dangerous and that it will become a hangout for an unsavoury crowd.

The super stop is the first of several that ECan wants to see installed across the city.

Under Christchurch's old public transport network most bus services terminated in the central city, but under the new spoke and hub system many services will terminate at suburban centres and people will have to transfer to another service if they want to continue their journey.

ECan sees it as critically important that transferring passengers have a comfortable, covered shelter in which to wait, which is why they are pushing the Christchurch City Council to build super stops like the one planned for the Main North Rd until sites can be identified for permanent off-street interchanges that offer an even higher level of service. That is likely to take some years.

Main North Rd residents Des and Marie Gibbard yesterday told a Christchurch City Council hearings panel set up to consider their objections to the super stop that they and their neighbours were totally opposed to it being installed. It was already difficult to get in and out of their driveways and the new stop would make it even harder. They were worried too:

About the amount of rubbish that would be generated.

That people waiting for buses would urinate in their properties.

"Would you want to have a shelter where our lovely youth of today will drink, have sex, leave all the condoms around with broken bottles and windows," they said in their written submission.

"Don't say it won't happen - we see it with the shelter down and across the road frequently. It will do nothing to enhance the area."

Council staff said they believed the super stop was in the right location and that many of the concerns raised by the residents could be mitigated.

ECan public transport operations planner Edward Wright said they sympathised with the residents but Northlands Mall was the third-busiest stop in Christchurch's public transport network and it was important to have a good shelter there for waiting passengers.

The hearings panel has 20 working days to inform objectors of their decision.

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