Guest Post: Meanwhile, back in St Albans/Papanui…

Papanui Parallel route (click to enlarge)

Papanui Parallel route (click to enlarge)

Another report from the home trenches, courtesy of guest blogger, Robert:

Lennyboy is on a voyage of discovery and comprehensive fact finding journey. Please do not read this to mean “taxpayer funded junket” (editor’s note: especially when my consulting earnings are paying for half of it…); that term is reserved exclusively for politicians and their beloved others. He is currently at the outer reaches of the northern hemisphere (UK and Europe) to extend knowledge of and report back on all things cycling. Consequently there seems now a vacuum in the reporting of such news locally back home in Christchurch.

Of note recently, the Shirley/Papanui Community Board reported at its meeting of Feb 18th that the plans for the first stage of the Papanui Parallel Major Cycleway (Rutland Street Reserve shared pathway) from Tomes Road through to Grassmere Street were in the final stage and that the project would go to tender during late February/early March. The breaking news is that to date no stones have yet been turned to signal that construction has started. This story can therefore be a ‘pre-construction report’.

Grassmere St access: no stones moved so far

Grassmere St access: no stones moved so far

The Papanui Parallel Cycleway has been designated one of the first four priority Major Cycle routes to be constructed for Christchurch. The overall cost for this route will be in the vicinity of $10 million. The Rutland Reserve section was awarded a $250,000 funding boost in January from the Government’s pre-election announced Urban Cycleway Fund of $100 million. It is easy to see why this route is of high priority. At present the cycle route choices from the north directly to the city centre are limited if a direct route is desirable, namely Cranford Street or Papanui Road. Neither option is particularly pleasant to ride for the ‘interested but concerned’ would-be cyclist.

Rutland St end: nothing to report yet

Tomes Rd / Rutland St end: nothing to report yet

The section due north of the Rutland Reserve towards Grassmere Street will be built on land already owned by the City Council, purchased with a view to having a cycle route here several years ago. From the map it is clear to see that cycling directly from Rutland Street to Grassmere Street will be pretty much as the crow flies and considerably shorter than going via the path through the Paparoa Street School grounds and along Paparoa Street. So not only safer and easier but considerably quicker as well.

The current path through Paparoa St School

The current path through Paparoa St School (not quite sure what the dashed lines are marking)

It is difficult to know exactly when the first stage will be finished, but let’s hope it will be before the end of 2015 and that the entire Papanui Parallel route (4.8 km) will be ready for action before the beginning of 2017. (editor’s note: the current programme has it all completed by ~Apr 2017)

The new connecting path will be much wider than the current one

The new connecting path will be much wider than the current one

The final photo is of the Rutland Street shops which are almost opposite Rugby Park. The cycle route will head south towards the city via Edgeware and along Colombo Street after passing these shops. It is clear from the photo that easy vehicle parking is important to these businesses. What is not clear from the photo is it can be difficult to turn into and leave the parking spaces available due to the high speed of traffic using the street as a faster alternative to Cranford Street or even Papanui Road. A 40 km/h speed restriction area has been installed, operating just before and after school hours to enable young children to feel safer going to school in the area. What effect the cycleway will have on this street and the businesses is yet to be determined, but traffic calming would certainly be a positive, particularly for residents in the area.

Rutland St shops: how will the Major Cycleway work here?

Rutland St shops: how will the Major Cycleway work here?

Are you looking forward to the Papanui Parallel cycleway link?

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