It’s that time of the year when Councils around the country put our their budget plans for what they want to spend your precious rates (and other funding sources) on. In 2018, as is done every three years, that exercise also extends to considering the plan for the next 10 years of Council activity. The so-called “Long term Plan” for Christchurch is now up for consultation and closes this Friday (5pm) – time to have your say!
Simon Barnard has already provided an overview about making a submission, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to do so. From a cycling perspective, there are some notable proposed changes to consider when making your submissions.
The previous plan was to continue completing the Major Cycle Routes (MCRs) over the next 3-4 years. Now however, the proposal is to stretch that out over the full 10 year plan period. Oddly, despite this, the Plan insists that the intention is to “prioritise work to complete the Major Cycle Routes” – how does slowing down the programme prioritise it?
Volume 1 of the draft Long Term Plan sets out the details of all the planned spending. To say that it’s hard reading would be an understatement – it’s 304 pages (never mind Volume 2 as well…). The most useful part for cycling details though can be found on the Capital Programme section, specifically the ‘Transportation’ section. There you can see that some cycleways are now scheduled for construction as late as 2026/27. Even the Coastal Pathway will be completed a year later too.
Equally worrying is the fact that previously planned local cycleway connections to the MCRs now appear to be completely off the radar this decade. The relative success of the MCRs is somewhat dependent on how easy it is to access them from surrounding neighbourhoods, and that’s where the supporting cycleways are important to help join the dots.
Looking at other parts of the Long Term Plan, you can also see other roading and transport projects being proposed; many of them will also provide for cycling as well, e.g. many intersection upgrade projects. It would be good to see more explicit support for further introduction of lower speed areas in the coming years, although it is nice to see more of them being consulted on recently.
The Council has some challenging financial decisions to consider over the next few years; I don’t envy them that task. However, it does feel like the Major Cycleways, despite their success so far, have been made a scapegoat for paring back. Does the recent perceived ‘bikelash’ have anything to do with it? Perhaps the lack of guidance on further funding from central Government created some caution – now largely eased thanks to the release of the draft Govt Policy Statement on Land Transport.
Spokes Canterbury have provided some handy thoughts on the draft LTP if you need some inspiration. But the best thing is to just speak from the heart and say how much the cycleways mean to you (and everything else in the Plan that takes your fancy!). So get a submission in now…
Have you made a submission on the LTP yet?