Cycleways are Go!

It’s been a busy week for the City Council, with the sign-off of their Three-Year Plan and agreement with the Govt on cost sharing of various planned “anchor projects” around the central city. What might have snuck under the radar somewhat is the fact that Council confirmed its intention to invest nearly $70 million over the next five years on major cycleways around the city – yay!

Suggested priority cycleways near the CBD (click to enlarge)
Bring it on…

I must admit I almost had kittens when I saw the initial headline in Wednesday’s Press newspaper: “Cycle track must wait – Council”. But no, the story was simply referring to the fact that Cr Yani Johanson had pushed for the cycleways to be constructed in just three years instead of five (as mentioned by him at the Spokes AGM), but that move had been voted down.

While some like Cr Tim Carter thought it made sense to tie the work in with the reconstruction by SCIRT, Cr Claudia Reid opposed the fast tracking, noting “We’ve already delivered a miracle and that the miracle is this: in five years time we will have 13 dedicated, safe, top-quality cycle routes that will connect neighbourhoods and the city centre in a way they have never been before.” Well, I can’t really quibble with that sentiment; it’s certainly faster than anyone dared to hope. I’ll reserve judgement on the “miracle” until we actually see it on the ground…

Time to deliver "the miracle"...
Time to deliver “the miracle”…

Meanwhile, the City Council also decided to confirm investment of $9.9 million to help make the Coastal Pathway between Ferrymead and Sumner a reality. The fantastic work by the Pathway project team has clearly made an impression with both the Council and the local community. The route will also connect with the major cycleway planned between the city and Ferrymead.

Proposed Coastal Pathway route (c/ Chch Coastal Pathway)
Proposed Coastal Pathway route (c/ Chch Coastal Pathway)

And let’s not forget also that in amongst the various central city projects being proposed are significant improvements for walking and cycling, including The Frame and Avon River corridors and lower speed limits in the core. Actually, the details on all this are still to see the light of day – since the “Accessible City” transport plan was put out and submitted on, we’re still waiting to hear whether the Earthquake Minister is happy with all of the proposed bits in it. But given all the goodwill going around this week, we’ll assume for now that this will also be another piece in the puzzle to creating a cycle-friendlier new city…

Key cycling routes - are these all logical?
Potential key cycling routes into the city

 What do you think? Time to break out the champagne?

 

16 thoughts on “Cycleways are Go!”

  1. I will wait with the Champagne until the rubber hits the road but will definitely open a really nice craft beer. Many thanks to Spokes and council staff for pushing this so hard !!! I am reasonable optimistic that this will be delivered within the time frame as I think people will hold the council to it. I also hope other councils will take notice as Selwyns cycling plan looks rather bleak for the coming years:

    http://www.selwyn.govt.nz/__data/assets/image/0006/34989/Cycleways-Aug09-Small.jpg

  2. Champagne , yes most definitely . From now the focus may shift but there is still plenty of work to do . The hardware may be coming but there is a culture change required which will need to be managed. To realise the true potential of a cycle-friendly city the journey has just begun . Add-ons to this great start will involve public encouragement campaigns ( and education in cycling etiquette ) , smart thinking to enhance the experience in terms of parking , and integration with other modes of transport . Reading about the Vienna experience in the Press yesterday I wonder if a potential central city residential developer will bite the bullet and offer more affordable housing by reducing car parking spaces , yet include a convenient area for cycle storage . Perhaps even time to consider an affordable car sharing scheme within central city residential developments .

  3. After being knocked off twice I now use a hi-vis steel protection suit. It is so heavy it has its own wheels, engine, horn and hazard warning lights. It makes a real mess of anything that tries to run over it. But the best part is I get to block up the road and slow down cars and trucks that are in too much of a hurry to take care near by cyclists.
    The second best part is I get to my destination without getting squeezed, cut off or run over. And I can take this protection on any road, not just the new cycles.

    Some thing else will have to give before the traffic density falls below the critical level and there is again enough room to cycle safely on all roads.

  4. I’m sorry to be a wet blanket but I don’t see how some of these routes and proposed spending makes cycling a more viable alternative or in the case of the coastal walkway a viable alternative to the road. Some of these routes I ride now and don’t seem particularly needy or worthy.

    I’d rather see cyclists accommodated at controlled intersections and all those places where we’re needlessly put in conflict with cars identified and fixied.

    That said for the most part it makes sense and I’ll toast Spokes people’s fine work.

    1. Andrew, maybe you’re not the target audience because you’re already cycling? Most non-cyclists tend to be more picky about what they’re happy riding on (at least initially). I think you’ll also find that the major intersections & crossings along these routes will be a big part of what gets improved – have a look at some of the examples in the CCC Cycle Design Guidelines.

  5. Lenny, I’ve looked at some examples and the more I think about it the more reservations I have, Some of that stuff only moves the hazard or replaces it with another at great cost. Take a look at the Wrights Rd cycleway crossing if you havn’t and tell me why I should have any confidence in contemporary design.

    I wonder why is there no rail corridor path Waltham to Lincoln Rd or Brougham St? It’s a direction with no viable alternative routes, the grid south of Brougham running at 45 degrees. NZTA or whoever is responsible for that torture track should have their cycle accreditation revoked, some quickcrete and paint to mark the safe alt route would go a long way there.

    $3m seems a ridiculous amount to spend on the Heathcote leisure route, if a novice doesn’t feel safe riding that now they’ll never feel safe anywhere. How can Humphries Dr-South Brighton bridge be described as a major route? Cuthberts Rd is far more worthy of a sealed cycle path and major route status, there’s huge potential there for an attractive alternative to Dyers and Pages roads.
    I’m sure routes that actually take people places they want or need to go make cycling a viable alternative to cars and increase the uptake far more than meandering dawdles that seem to encourage people to carry bikes around on cars any fair sunday.

    1. Andrew, I would agree with Wrights Rd (more on that in a post very soon); the problem with this one was that it was an NZTA project, so didn’t go through the usual CCC consultation processes where problems with the design are generally sorted out – a common problem with State Hwy projects historically I might add.

      Also agree with Waltham-Lincoln; some kind of line here would be handy (Hazeldean/Harman could work). This route was identified in Spokes’ BUMP project routes (which is ultimately much more comprehensive than the initial CCC cycleways, so isn’t going to happen overnight). Again, NZTA haven’t exactly worked hard to make Brougham St very cycle-friendly, but I think you would struggle to get it to a level that current non-cyclists would be happy.

      The Heathcote River route is a very long route and the biggest issues at present are crossing the main roads; a bit of work needed there. Plus some of the path sections need improvement, so $3million will be easily used up there.

      Not sure what you mean by Humphreys-Sth Brighton bridge route; the BUMP project identifies it but CCC doesn’t have it on their current list of cycleways. For anyone living in Northeast Chch I think this is a very popular route towards the Port Hills. Again BUMP has also identified a likely route via Cuthberts Green towards Woolston.

      The pulling power of less direct routes for current non-cyclists also needs to be acknowledged (as we identified in research here a couple of years); many people will happily go a bit out of their way for a route they’re more comfortable with (at least to start with). And in some cases they may need to start with some recreational rides before working up the courage to bike for other trips like work.

  6. Lenny,
    Thusrday about 7.45am I sighted a schoolboy, about 12 on Strickland St travelling towards Brougham St, he was some distance ahead by the time I got behind him and wondered if he had a rear light or it was poor.
    I guess he wasn’t familiar with the route because I sighted him again from James Baxter Pl travelling sth down Brougham st and as I got closer over Selwyn St I noticed there was another reason I might not see his tail light, he had his hands clasped behind his back, even as he squeezed past two parked cars!
    On my return journey along the ‘cycleway to hell’ near Lincoln Rd I met a boy about the same age on a pink chopper type bike, standing on the cranks and swerving which unnerved me until I realized he had a mental disabilty and was really enjoying his ride.
    I guess a car will never be an option for him.
    On Brougham St approaching Kippling St i noted the traffic from behind was thinning and a car and van in the oncoming right turning bay (take a look at this one if you don’t know it, it’s a duesey). I was watching like a hawk as the car made it’s break towards me, staring at the driver and waiting for them to see me in their path in my hi-viz, it seemed to take forever and again for it to register what they were looking at and react and I was looking for the best route over their bonnet when they braked, phew!
    But wait, I’d been so busy watching the car I’d not noticed the van behind is doing a U turn using all the road and forcing me to brake hard into the curb which was too an acute angle to mount.
    I don’t get too wound up over this kind of thing, I did attempt to give the van driver a withering stare as I passed them stuck in traffic but failed to make eye contact.
    Do you need a fatality statistic to notice the insanity of cycleways and lanes to nowhere and the danger they create? I’m writing to NZTA.
    To heck with this obcession with “current non-cyclists” who literally don’t know what they’re talking about. There’s no shortage of actual cyclists. Has there been any research into them and the challenges they face? like those for whom it’s their sole means of transport? where are the black and grey spots? who are the most vulnerable? start with addressing their safety and your holy uptake will follow.
    Until then some of this is just feel good junk for the detatched.

  7. I suspect that many existing cyclists are well represented in feedback provided to Council projects and maintenance hotlines, as well as via representations made by the experienced bods in Spokes Canterbury (although Spokes do try to represent both existing and potential riders).

    What may be of interest to you is the $0.5million allocated in the Three Year Plan for “cycling strategic improvements”; call it a “quick wins” programme if you will. Doesn’t sound like much, but many of the little things that bug existing riders often don’t need much work; a bit of paint, patching, signage, etc. We’re not sure how this fund is going to play out yet; must make some enquiries.

    Hmm, perhaps there’s another interesting future blogpost in there – WHO should we be providing for: the existing or the new cyclist?

  8. Well for what it is worth here is my tuppence contribution . Population age demographics show that in the short to medium term we are going to have a growing number of older bods around. Health statistics tell us that unless we exercise more, life expectancy could reduce for some people. Many others would enjoy an improved quality of life if regular activity was partaken in l Energy analysts predicts the price of petrol is unlike to fall , and probably will rise . Do I see some ducks lined in a row here ? , Is there a potentially a huge target audience waiting to be enticed ; an audience that is risk averse and starting to get a touch dottery with it . A safe cycleway can create a confidence in an older rider, that traffic is unable to . With the right promotion and an infrastructure that simply makes it easier to get around by bike , a win win could be enjoyed by all .

  9. Although an absence of separate cycle paths in Christchurch does not deter me from cycling I am all for these major upgrades of cycling infrastructure. Almost daily I hear people warning me that I should be very careful out there or that they would like to bike to work but think it is just too dangerous. Whether this perception is based on reality or not does not really matter. It keeps people from cycling. Most people would agree that the current infrastructure is not great and that there is huge potential to entice people to hop on the bike in this flat, usually weather-blessed but increasingly congested city. Yep Christchurch might be the cycling city of New Zealand but numbers are still quite low compared to some cities who invested heavily in cycling infrastructure like Copenhagen, Amsterdam or London. I think this investment in infrastructure will make cycling safer as it will make cycling more mainstream and this will raise the awareness of drivers for potential cyclists. I have cycled around Sri Lanka for four weeks and although there is no such thing as cycling infrastructure there I have not felt unsafe for moment because drivers were used to share the road with cyclists. So the question remains how to encourage the masses in Christchurch to take up cycling Christchurch? Apart from an economic apocalypse I can not see any other way than offering safe and and innovative cycling facilities. Interesting discussion though!

  10. The $0.5million allocated in the Three Year Plan for “cycling strategic improvements” is of much interest Lenny.

    I suggest that to know a “strategic improvemet” a route and hazard reference database where all cyclists are encouraged to contribute. Non enthused and wannabe cyclists and all buying in to provide the perfect picture.
    It could promote unprecented discussion, awareness, networking and enthusiasm.

  11. That first image showing the proposed routes is interesting. Where is that sourced from – could you post a link to it? Is that a newly developed plan or an older one you’ve just pulled out of the drawer?

    1. Chris, that map comes from the report presented to the Env’mt & Infrastr. Cm’tee back in February – see the links on http://cyclingchristchurch.co.nz/cycle-infrastructure/priority-cycleways-for-christchurch-where-should-they-be/. However it has been refined since then as planning has gotten underway in earnest (I have seen different versions more recently); once I can get my hands on something electronic I can pass on, I’ll let everyone know.

  12. Cycleways will be fantastic.

    I am concerned about where we cross roads. I had a cycle accident crossing a one way street at peak time.

    There was a red cycle infrastructure at each side of the street but it was not an intersection.

    It was near the Barbadoes street bridge.

    The cars were queueing and stopped . I had eye contact with the front cars when a car from behind decided he would change lanes without indicating and floored it to catch the lights.

    So I would like to see lights or some method of stopping traffic at peak times for cyclists to cross over a road in a cycleway.

    Like the Mona Vale to Northlands cycleway. lights where traffic queues at peaks

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