Big funding boost for Chch cycleways

Yesterday morning, Christchurch woke to the news that the Government was investing in the completion of six major cycle routes, thanks to funding from the Government’s shovel-ready infrastructure fund for COVID-19 recovery.

Lots of new cycleways (in red) ready to be built… (click to enlarge)

An extra $87 million is being pumped into the Christchurch cycleways programme (including the previously announced funding to complete the Coastal Pathway). Together with money already committed by the City Council and Govt, a total of $125 million will be invested to kick-start construction and fund the completion of the following cycleway projects:

The final section of the Coastal Pathway along Moncks Bay will be funded
  • Rapanui / Shag Rock cycleway – connecting the Coastal Pathway to Linwood and the city centre via Ferrymead and the Estuary (1.7km)
  • Sections at the north and south ends of the Northern Line pathway – connecting Belfast to South Hagley Park and the CBD (3.5km)
  • Heathcote Expressway – extending the existing cycleway from the Tannery in Woolston to Ferrymead Historic Park and Heathcote Valley (3.5km)
The final section of the Heathcote Expressway towards the hills will be funded

All of these projects will either start construction this year or next year. You’ll note that some of these projects have been in consultation and design phase for over 3 years; they’ve just been waiting for the cash injection to bring them forward from their previously delayed funding timelines. So this news is brilliant at getting some much-needed momentum towards completing these routes – and then working on the remaining four major cycle routes.

One noticeable effect of the growing number of cycleway links around Christchurch is how the “network effect” starts to kick in, i.e. more people can get from A to B using a number of connected cycleways. So what you can expect to see is even greater increases in cycle numbers overall, compared with what you see with just an isolated standalone cycleway.

The network effect: accessing multiple destinations

In listening to the online chat since this announcement came out; two things stood out:

  • A number of people have pointed out the rather obvious gap in funded cycleways to the northeast. The Avon-Ōtākaro route will eventually fill in one of those segments, but it is a fair point that currently there is relatively little to connect the central city to the likes of Mairehau, Shirley and Burwood in the north or Wainoni and Aranui to the east. Major Cycle Routes Round 2 anyone?
  • Major cycle routes are only useful to you if you can access them easily from your origin or destination. Where these are not directly on the cycleway corridors, then it becomes even more important that some attention is paid to identifying the necessary local cycle connections around each route. Let’s hope that the City Council soon stump up some money for this, to really get best bang for buck out of each  major cycleway. The recent work around the St Albans downstream effects plan gives one example of how a whole neighbourhood can be made more cycle-friendly.

Those quibbles aside, this is great news and provides some more funding certainty for our growing cycleway network.

Which cycleway are you most looking forward to?

6 thoughts on “Big funding boost for Chch cycleways”

  1. I tried to find out yday about the NW arc. The plans on CCC website only have the part that heads west/south from the uni, not the bit up to Papanui. Has that part been designed and the route consulted on?

    1. Some of those indicative 2013 routes ended up changing quite substantially in the final wash. But the northern bit of the Nor’West Arc does lend itself to a reasonably logical route as indicated by Robert. You are correct though that there hasn’t ever been consultation on this bit, so that would be a necessary first step and therefore this section might be one of the later bits to be constructed.

      1. Thanks both, I was fairly sure I would have heard if there had been something about the northern stretch

  2. Completion of the cycleway from Sumner to Linwood will be fantastic. The hassle with negotiating traffic at Shag Rock corner and the Ferrymead bridge has meant that a long carefree ride is not really possible. Bring it on! Excellent news all around.

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