The Major Cycleways programme continues with the public consultation for the final part of the Uni-Cycle route, from Riccarton Bush to the University of Canterbury’s Dovedale campus. The proposed 3km route is an interesting mix of all types of cycleways; neighbourhood greenways, shared paths, and separated bikeways.
Let’s have a look along the route, heading away from town from east to west (click on the diagrams to enlarge them): the consultation begins at the Ngahere St entrance to Riccarton Bush. The streets immediately west of here are already traffic calmed and so the main treatment will be to introduce some sharrow markings as well, plus a few extra no-stopping lines to improve visibility in places.
That’s all fine and well, but I think the question that many of us have is: what’s happening through Riccarton Bush? The previous Uni-Cycle consultation on the other side of the Bush seems to confirm that the route will be going through there, but no details are evident yet. Indeed, the plans seem to suggest that for now we will still have a crappy sub-2m wide pathway to contend with… Hopefully whatever negotiations are underway with the Trust that looks after Riccarton House and Bush (a Council-Controlled Organisation that receives most of its funding from CCC) can be resolved soon and enable a top-class cycling route to sit alongside the heritage area (I note that the Dutch can manage to do this OK…).
The cycleway route then wiggles its way through Totara, Miro, and Hinau Sts, continuing to use a neighbourhood greenway treatment. Some additional speed platforms are proposed along Hinau St, but again the consultation document is silent about introducing a lower speed limit as well for this route – why? Given the zig-zagging nature of the route too, it would also be helpful to realign the kerbs at each intersection to maintain priority and direct riders along the cycleway route (I note that they are proposing a similar treatment in the revised Rapanui / Shag Rock cycleway route through Linwood). Certainly, at a minimum, I would expect some good route signage – again, the consultation document is silent about this.
Approaching Clyde Rd, the cycle route then heads onto a shared off-road path leading up to the existing signalised crossing of this busy road (the crossing width will be enlarged). The shared path then leads onto the University of Canterbury campus and becomes a 3m-wide two-way cycleway alongside University Drive. An interesting challenge might be keeping pedestrians off the cycleway and not seeing it as another handy footpath – having it at a lower level than any adjacent footpaths might provide a useful visual cue there.
Ilam Rd of course already features a separated cycleway, but the proposal is to give this a makeover. The most significant change is to remove the current west-side car-parking to provide space for wider solid separators – no doubt this will be pleasing to the endless grumblers about the current concrete separators (someone seems to have forgotten about providing a gap at Science Rd too). 2m-wide one-way cycleways will be provided on each side and there will be priority crossings for both cycles and pedestrians at each end of this section (perhaps raised platforms would help with motorist compliance?).
The existing shared pathway across Ilam Fields will then be widened to 4m (and that annoying dogleg kink at the eastern end removed). Once across the existing signalised crossing of Waimairi Rd, the shared pathway will continue along the frontage of Dovedale Ave (with raised crossings over the side-entrances) all the way to Solway Ave where the route finishes (it couldn’t hurt to have a refuge island there to assist the final crossing).
So that’s the route. Unlike some of the other current projects being worked on, this route doesn’t create as many problems with car-parking removal; the biggest loss is the 20-odd spaces on Ilam Rd, and I don’t imagine that the University will be too concerned about that in the bigger scheme of things. The significant numbers of people around the university campus could potentially create a few problems if the route gets popular (especially the shared paths), but that’s an issue that could be dealt with later if need be (e.g. provide separate walk/cycle facilities). It also remains to be seen whether the neighbourhood greenway route east of the University will also be suitably low speed/volume for people to be comfortable with riding on it – perhaps some opportunities to reduce traffic volumes by cutting some of the street links for through traffic?
Submissions close for this project at 5pm Wed 9th March, so make sure you have your say. To help you with more information and feedback, there will be a public drop-in session at Ilam School Hall (66 Ilam Rd) this Tue 16th Feb from 3.30–5.45pm.
What do you think of the proposed Uni-Cycle cycleway works?