Lincoln Town Centre Plans

Christchurch is not the only place working on improving its village centres; our western neighbours Selwyn District have also been planning changes for Lincoln’s town centre, with consultation now out, and again that includes some very promising things for cycling.

Study area between Lincoln township and University
Study area between Lincoln township (right) and University (left)

The town centre plan has been designed around five key themes:

    • Promoting ‘active commercial frontage’, with buildings placed to the edge of the footpath and glass doors and windows facing the street. This design helps to create visual interest and supports a lively street scene for residents and visitors.
    • Developing public spaces and squares with attractive landscaping, which can be used for markets, events and relaxation
    • Ensuring the town centre design provides for connected and safe cycling and walking options, while allowing traffic to get through the township.
    • Providing and managing adequate car parking within the town centre
    • Designing streets that are suited to their purpose.
Artist's impression of new Lincoln streetscape
Artist’s impression of new Lincoln streetscape

In terms of cycling, those principles mean having separated cycleways through the town centre (Gerald St), with kerb islands providing the separation. The main exception is around the angle-parking area, where cyclists are steered onto the pavement behind the parking, partly sharing with pedestrians.

Proposed plan of Lincoln town centre reconstruction
Proposed plan of Lincoln town centre reconstruction (click to enlarge)

Four signalised intersections along Gerald St are planned in the future as traffic demand grows. At the eastern end, shared paths will also connect the township to the existing Little River Rail Trail towards Christchurch.

Future shared paths and signalised intersections at the eastern end of Lincoln
Future shared paths and signalised intersections at the eastern end of Lincoln

At the western end, the cycleways will lead to Lincoln University and the new Springston-Lincoln cycleway. Traffic signals at Springs Rd should help ease rush-hour congestion woes, although I’m not convinced that the proposed plan is the best option for those cycling (especially if you have to turn right, as many will). At the very least, hook turn boxes would help here, but maybe it’s an opportunity for a cycle “Barnes Dance” phase?

Future traffic signals at Springs Rd (Lincoln Uni to lower left)
Future traffic signals at Springs Rd (Lincoln Uni to lower left)

An interesting feature of the proposals is what will happen at the bus stops along the route. Depending on whether there is on-street parking or not, there will either be the option of a shared footpath bypass when buses are present (a bit like Ilam Rd) or just a raised cycleway section to allow pedestrians to access the bus platform (like I’ve seen in Vancouver). At the main bus stops in town, there is also the suggestion of providing dedicated bike parking to help support the “bike’n’ride” crowd.

Cycleways behind bus stops, with and without on-street parking
Cycleways behind bus stops, with and without on-street parking

Another encouraging feature is the suggestion that the central township area will have a 30km/h speed limit introduced, to improve pedestrian amenity. No doubt that would also improve conditions for cycling too.

One aspect of what is proposed is timing. Unlike some of the Christchurch works already budgeted for and programmed for the near future, much of the Lincoln Plan still has to be incorporated into the Council’s Long Term Plan. In practice, it looks like only parking adjustments are likely in the next 1-3 years (that may include some bike parking improvements), with most major capital projects beyond that (in the case of some of the planned street works and intersection signalisations, at least 8 years away). At present, only the eastern end of the central retail precinct is likely to be built within 4-7 years.

This section may be the only bit built in the next 7 years
This section may be the only bit built in the next 7 years

Feedback on the Lincoln Town Plan is due by Mon 30th Nov. Forums for community residents and other interested parties will be held at the Lincoln Events Centre (Meijer Drive) on Mon 16th Nov 7.00-8:30pm and Sat 21st Nov 2.00-3:30pm.

It’s great to see a growing area like Lincoln looking ahead to change their township into a more people-friendly place to be. It’s a pity that much of these great plans could be many years away from coming to fruition, although I guess that’s where consultation can let Selwyn District Council know if you want it done sooner.

What do you think of the Lincoln Town concept plan?

4 thoughts on “Lincoln Town Centre Plans”

  1. Why do so many roundabouts get removed? Are they no longer trendy? Traffic lights cost money to run and certify, whereas a roundabout needs nothing more than gardening, or maybe a periodic mow. Roundabouts work well when its steady mixed traffic, but do break down a little in heavy flow from one street. However traffic lights mean ~half of all cars passing through end up stopped for a period.

    What’s wrong with roundabouts that traffic lights do well ?

    1. Roundabouts break down if there is an uneven flow distribution (e.g. peak hour in one direction), making it hard for other approaches to get a look in. So what may work perfectly fine during most of the day may suddenly become a big mess come rush hour. At some point, that will be the dominant issue with a site.

      Those same peak flows also mean that cyclists and pedestrians often don’t get a safe time to get across either (especially less confident riders and impaired pedestrians) – all that “smooth flow” also means no gaps in traffic. Although roundabouts have a fairly good safety record in general, they can be worse for those walking and cycling. This is particularly an issue for multi-lane roundabouts; well-designed single-lane roundabouts that slow traffic down can still be reasonably OK.

      Roundabouts certainly have their place as basic intersections get busier (there’s a couple of locations near my place that I think would benefit everyone from having roundabouts; St Martins/Burnbrae and St Martins/Centaurus). But eventually even they have their limitations in terms of safety/efficiency.

  2. One thing they could change in the short term is the cycle lane markings on Gerald St which only go west with none going east. The central hatched turning space could easily be removed for an eastern cycle lane.

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