Three-year delay for cycle network

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 11:40 25/03/2014
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Cycle path design
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KEY ROUTES: Some cycleways will be physically separated from the road and pavement.

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The delivery date for Christchurch's new $69 million network of cycleways looks set to be pushed out by three years.

The network of 13 major cycleways criss-crossing the city was originally due to be built within five years but the city council is now proposing constructing it over eight years.

The proposed change in the time-frame is outlined in the council's draft 2014/15 Annual Plan.

Council acting general manager city environment Terry Howes said practical delivery considerations rather than budgetary factors were behind the proposed timeframe extension.

The previous council had made the decision to include money for a cycleway network in the Three Year Plan quite late in the process and it had become clear in the intervening months that delivering all the projects within the specified three year time-frame was not practical.

The council was not talking about simply painting lines on a road; it wanted to create separated cycleways that would make cycling safer and encourage more people onto their bikes. It needed to consult with communities about routes and possibly acquire some land and change kerb lines.

Howes said the expert advice the council had received from the Netherlands suggested it needed to take its time and get it right rather than rush in.

''We want to make sure that what we deliver is the best possible and that is going to take us a bit longer [than three years]. We're just trying to be realistic - we want to to do it, but we want to do it right,'' he said.

Keith Turner, chairman of the cycling lobby group Spokes Canterbury, said the group appreciated the council was in a difficult financial position but it would be disappointing if the network took longer to complete than the promised five years.

''Spokes' position is we would like to see it built as soon as possible,'' Turner said.

''I think the need is there and the demand is there but it is just getting that translated into action isn't it?''

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- The Press

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