Matai St East Cycleway Consultation

Another sign of the Major Cycleways starting to appear is the current consultation out for the Matai St East section of the “UniCycle” (Town-Ilam) cycle route (it will also connect those coming into town via the northern Railway Cycleway too). This is an exciting development on what is already a well-used cycle route; now it will get just that bit easier.

Matai St East locality diagram

Matai St East locality diagram

A long-time barrier for Matai St users...

A long-time barrier for Matai St users…

Matai St has long been a strong desire line between town, Chch Boys and Girls High Schools and on to Canterbury University. The street is a reasonably quiet local street, so it is fairly friendly to ride on for the most part. However, at the start and end of school, things can get a bit chaotic around Girls High. Also, there is no easy connection from here into Hagley Park; at present one has to divert to the crossings at Kilmarnock St or Fendalton Rd, or tackle the traffic and park railing barriers…

Now a new, 3-metre wide, two-way separated cycle path is proposed along Matai Street East (you can still stay on the street if you wish). And at the Deans Ave end, a new signalised crossing will enable easy direct access to and from Hagley Park (for those on foot and bike).

Finally - a new signalised crossing over Deans Ave

Finally – a new signalised crossing over Deans Ave

The path follows the southern side initially but, ostensibly due to the need to minimise conflicts with driveways and sideroads, it swaps over to the northern side about halfway. While I can understand that logic (and it’s good to see a crossing with priority over the road), I’m not sold on the design for the crossing – two sharp right-angle turns. It seems to me that a little realignment of the road and path through here could have easily made that alignment a lot smoother.

Not so sure about this cycleway cross-over point...

Not so sure about this cycleway cross-over point…

At the western end, there’s also good news for those who get exasperated by the “maze” currently used to cross the railway tracks (do these ever really work? I’m always staring at the ground, not any oncoming trains). I understand that this will be replaced by an automated barrier arm, just like on roadways. The only other question mark I had was the alignment of the walking and cycling routes to Girls High – as it stands, I have a suspicion that school pedestrians will just use the cycleway to get from A to B in the shortest possible manner…

A new connection to the railway crossing

A new connection to the railway crossing

The more observant of you will have noticed that the new Deans Ave signalised crossing is reasonably close to both the Kilmarnock St and Harper/Fendalton signalised intersections. To make this work without completely snarling up the traffic, the latter intersection has also been re-jigged to provide sufficient capacity for all. One of the nice consequences is to remove the existing high-speed slip lane from Harper Ave to Deans Ave, which was a potential crash waiting to happen for any crossing pedestrians and cyclists. Now you can access Hagley Park from Fendalton Rd in one single manoeuvre either way. Not sure about the alignment of some of the pedestrian crossings though…

Deans/Harper/Fendalton intersection also gets a make-over

Deans/Harper/Fendalton intersection also gets a make-over

All up, this is a pretty exciting development to see on the drawing board. If you want to know more, you can attend a Project Information Session at Christchurch Girl’s High School from 3.30-6.30pm this Wednesday 28 May. And then you have until 5pm on Monday 9 June to make a submission to Council.

What do you think of the Matai St East proposals?

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