Guest Post: Community Board keen to cut Harewood Road cycleway

Out to the northwest, Simon Britten has noticed a worrying development:

The planned Wheels to Wings cycleway isn’t a priority for the Waimāero/Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board. Speaking to Council last week in support of the Board’s Annual Plan submission, Chairman Sam MacDonald asked for this major cycle route to be deferred, “…should that be the community’s preference”.

Councillor Glen Livingstone checks that he heard right – does the Community Board want the cycleway deferred?

I’m surprised that a Community Board would frame a proposed cycleway so negatively, while at the same time acknowledging that the community is yet to be consulted on the project. “…the [informal] feedback we get at the moment is that with the pressing needs of the city, that isn’t seen as a priority”.

The likely route for this cycleway (one of thirteen built or planned across the city) is along the length of Harewood Road, from the Papanui / Main North Rd intersection right through to Christchurch Airport. {Note: this is the original indicative route line but not necessarily where it will end up; many other cycleways have changed their final route – Ed.}

Map by Andrew Douglas-Clifford (The Map Kiwi)

A complication here is that Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood is only one of two Community Board areas that this cycleway would pass through. The Waipapa/Papanui-Innes Community Board doesn’t appear to share the same reservations, making no comments on cycleways in this year’s annual planning process. Last year in a submission on the Council’s Long Term Plan, the Papanui-Innes Community Board expressed support: “The Community Board has a number of cycleways in its area and does not support the deferral of the completion of these cycleways. The Board is concerned that slowing the delivery of the programme will cost Council more in the long term.

Where does this leave the Council? With one Community Board saying ‘stick to the programme’ and the other asking for the money to instead be spent on traffic lights that Council staff don’t favour.

{BTW, this is a cue to remind you to have your say with the current consultation on the Harewood/Gardiners/Breens intersection; feedback closes on Mon 10th June!}

Extract from the Fendalton-Waimari-Harewood Community Board’s Annual Plan submission (full text available online)

What do you make of the Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board’s advocacy in opposition to this proposed cycleway project?

9 thoughts on “Guest Post: Community Board keen to cut Harewood Road cycleway”

  1. I actually bike that road quite often and cannot see the need for a specialized cycle way, other than would be nice if the crap repairs to the road shoulder done by Enable were smoothed out. I would prefer the money went to the lights on Harewood/Gardiners/Breens Rd. I have live off Gardiners rd for 15 years and improvements have been hoped for that whole time.

    1. The council website for the cycleway singles out the fact that there are several schools nearby, so one of the rationales might be that it should enable schoolchildren to commute to school without having to rely on parents driving them. Another, more general idea might be to incentivize people who currently feel uncomfortable riding their cycles without physical separation, regardless of what the objective danger is. I know I am more scared for my life here than anywhere else and I feel uncomfortable riding my bicycle (or drive a car for that matter) in New Zealand to an extent I have not experienced elsewhere. I did have several close encounters the one time I did ride on Harewood Ave. I am not sure what the objective danger is, but the constant tailgating, close passes by trucks and SUVs, the honking, and the middle fingers given by drivers are just not an enjoyable experience, so providing some dedicated infrastructure might be nice, particularly since it is not unimaginable to take a (cargo-)bike to the airport to catch a flight.
      Without looking at the plan again in detail, I would also think these things are funded differently, with more money provided to the cycleway by the central government than to a local intersection, so from the council’s perspective, this is not an either/or thing.

  2. My desire line to get to the airport (I live in Sumner, but this would apply to anyone not living in the north – northeast would be to bike through Hagley Park, down Fendalton Rd on existing bike lanes, and then straight down Memorial Ave. It is much more direct than travelling via Northlands, I suspect by some 4km or 12mins+ one-way. But this might not feel safe to the “interested but concerned”. I was strong and fearless but as I age I am becoming much more wary (I a now 63y.o.)

    1. Memorial Ave certainly doesn’t pass the test for “interested but concerned” users, and even “enthused and confident” riders will struggle with no cycle lanes and being constantly squeezed by passing vehicles. The parallel Burnside Cycleway could be an improvement, but it is sub-par width and poorly connected and signposted at present. At least the new signalised interchange at SH1 provides some respite now (but again, hardly friendly for many users).

      1. Yup no room for parked cars, so get rid of all on street car parking, such a simple cheap option.

  3. Biked to the airport the other day, ended up taking up one of the lanes on memorial avenue for a fair bit of it because of the parked cars. I’m quite a defensive cyclist so was bang in the middle of the left lane during those times, I was quite surprised no motorist gave me any grief, but can definitely see a benefit for the cycleway heading that way. Would make it much nicer . I don’t see much/any interaction with my local board, does any one know how they canvas they community for consensus before speaking on behalf?

    1. I wonder if anyone has ever thought of the amount of money that could be made by ticketing parked cars that park part way across what would be perfectly adequate cycle lanes. Or better still just totally ban all on street parking thus giving hundreds of km of decent width roads and no need for the millions spent on special cycleways and lights etc. Oh and some policing of the 30km limits would also be a great revenue earner.

  4. You’d have to be fairly desperate to cycle any distance on the Papanui Rd end of Harewood Rd. I’ve recently moved there and many of sections have been subdivided so most driveways service multiple dwellings. This, together with the multiple street entrances/exits, the narrowness of the road with few filter lanes, the traffic density and traffic urgency make for a nightmare safety situation when walking, running and cycling. Even running on the footpath is dangerous, especially on rubbish collection day with bins obscuring vision and pathways. There are cars coming from all directions all day. I’ve been surprised at the number of elderly, from the prolific rest-homes/retirement villages in this area, that are prepared to run this gauntlet. Cycling to the airport from Papanui via the quieter, safer street network linking the many beautiful parks (as I do when I’m running and cycling), allows more time to enjoy the shorter route and less time on defence.

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