Happy New Year everyone! I hope your celebrations have gone well. As we roll over a new calendar it is timely to review what has happened for cycling in Christchurch over the past year and what might come in the next one.
2012 was really a year of consolidation and planning. Not a lot on the ground yet, but some promising signs of what might come.
We seen a few snippets of good infrastructure in the rebuild. SCIRT have been busy repairing the city and occasionally a cycling gem has popped up as well, like the pathway along Fitzgerald Ave. The new Southern Motorway also has a rather nice looking pathway running alongside it (a more detailed review here when the last bit gets completed). And in the first few months of 2013 we should see Ilam Road near the University get graced with new separated cycleways.
At the same time there have still been reminders that, like the days of old, cycling is not always remembered when it comes to the day-to-day stuff. So we need to keep vigilant in both the rebuild/repair and the general maintenance.
The City Council and CERA have been hard at work planning transport in the central city and across the city at large will be redeveloped (P.S: make sure you get your feedback about the Central City Transport Plan in by Feb 1st). On paper it all looks very promising, so we hope that the actual implementation follows up with good cycle-friendly stuff, and sooner rather than later. Hopefully they might take a leaf or two out of our suggested “1000 Day Challenge” – simple things like lower speed limits, more signage, transitional cycleways, and other “quick wins” would generate a lot of goodwill.
An interesting development post-quakes has been the suburban centres master-plan process. Some exciting community developments have been dreamt up to revitalise the damaged areas around the city, such as Sydenham, Sumner, Edgeware and so on. Some of the early ones seemed a bit uninspiring when it came to providing for cycling, so it is encouraging more recently to see that the likes of the Ferry Road and New Brighton plans talking about separated cycleways as part of the street reconstructions.
We also saw in 2012 some great steps forward in community projects to develop the Avon River corridor and create a Coastal Pathway to Sumner. Already some Council investigation funding has gone into the latter, and quite clearly cycling can benefit greatly from what could be produced.
All this planning eventually has to see some money and that’s where 2013’s Council Long Term Plan is very important. It will set out the expenditure over the next decade on everything the Council does. It is vitally important therefore that you pay attention when the draft Plan comes out (~March) and give them your feedback.
It’s also important to remember that near the end of 2013 we will be having local body elections. This will be a crucial time to see who has a cycle-friendly vision for Christchurch and is willing to stand up and be counted.
In summary, I expect that a few more things to encourage cycling will be built or underway in a year’s time but, more importantly, we will have a much clearer idea of how the way forward over the next few years will actually be funded and implemented.
What’s your top wish for a cycle-friendly Christchurch in 2013?