It’s submission time again: this time it’s the turn of the Chch City Council to put our their Draft Annual Plan 2014/15 and amendments to their Three Year Plan. This sets out what the Council will do over the next year, how much it will cost and where the money will come from. Most of this was already telegraphed by last year’s Three Year Plan, but this enables the Council to make any necessary tweaks along the way. From a cycling perspective, there is a reasonably significant “tweak” proposed…
As has been signalled in the media, the Council is now proposing to push out the timeframe for the Major Cycleways Programme from five years to eight years. In more immediate terms, that means that ~$10 million of cycleway works (plus the Carrs Rd Cycle/Pedestrian Bridge) have been deferred in the Three Year Plan from 2014/15 to later dates (the detail can be found on p.94-95 of the Draft Plan).
I was first aware of this possibility back in January and asked at the time whether it had anything to do with the Council’s constrained finances. I was assured that this was not the reason; it was simply the complexity of delivering the cycleways to a high standard. Having been involved in some of those discussions around Major Cycleway standards, I can understand this concern – there is a great desire not to deliver a half-baked end product. But planning takes time – we’re already 3/4 of the way through this financial year and only just about to take the plans to Councillors for their buy-in.
There is some misunderstanding floating around that this deferral means that nothing will happen for another three years (and some cynics are probably wondering if it will ever see the light of day). But it’s more about stretching out the programme, and things will actually be built right throughout the planned period. As noted last month to Council’s Environment Committee, there are a number of “quick wins” scheduled for the very near future, including:
- Eight new signalised road crossings now on parts of the later Major Cycleway Routes (e.g. parts of the existing northern Railway Cycleway)
- A section of the Little River Trail route to lead safely into Little River township
- Part of the Grassmere/Papanui to City Route through the Rutland Reserve (now out for consultation until 11 Apr)
- Implementation of the Town-University route over the next 12 months (see plan below)
- As mentioned previously, some more cycle lane separators will be installed over the next year or so
(and of course, our cycleways now have official names!)
We’ll bring you more details about these projects as they come to final fruition.
I’m a bit conflicted here; these delays are not ideal but I can understand why they’re happening. Remember, we are talking about more than 50km of high-quality cycleways to be delivered ultimately. Still, this is a democracy, so you can let the Council know your thoughts on the matter through their consultation process.
Consultation close Tue 22nd April – get your submission in today!