Hidden Treasures: The South Frame

We hear a lot about the various Major Cycle Routes around the city, and also the nice central city corridors like the Oxford Promenade and the East Frame. But another cool little route has been slowly making its way across town too and is now completed – the South Frame.

The South Frame route, highlighted in yellow (click to enlarge)

The South Frame was part of the original Blueprint plan for the Christchurch post-quake rebuild, adding further laneways and walk/cycle corridors to the ones also being created along the East Frame, the Avon River, and in between various new buildings in the central city. It took a bit longer than planned (not helped it seems by some uncooperative car dealers along the route…) and has been scaled down somewhat from the original proposals but, $90m of purchases and redevelopment later, it’s ready to go.

Kahikatea Common east of Montreal St

The route incorporates some existing alleyway streets in between Tuam and St Asaph Sts and has joined the dots with some new corridors and open spaces along the way. Various north-south lanes cross the corridor providing additional connections back to the one-way streets.

Entering The Greenway west of Manchester St

Starting at the east end is a little vague, but Evolution Square (right next to Little High Eatery in the SALT District) is probably where you want to start. To the north this links with Vanguard Square and the East Frame, and soon it will also link with the final improved southern section of High St. At the moment the route takes you around the north end of the EPIC building (I always thought this was only ever temporary?) and then you can cross Manchester St mid-block to reach the Greenway.

Some sections retain cover, like this bit east of Colombo

There’s now a fairly straight route west in between the surrounding buildings, dotted with lots of greenery, interesting artworks, and places to sit and watch the world go by (pro tip: check out some of the lighting features after dark too…). In some cases, parts of the original building structures have been retained, providing some cover over the route. Crossing each of the north-south streets you encounter is not too difficult most of the time, with enough gaps in traffic mid-block.

A fun piece of art in the South Frame

A couple more larger open places feature along the route; Matai Common (between Colombo & Durham Sts) and Kahikatea Common (east of Montreal St). Here there are a few opportunities to hang out. The final section, just west of Montreal St, was opened in December.

The final section of the South Frame (west of Montreal) under construction last October

I quite enjoy sometimes riding along the South Frame just to have a nice quiet, reflective route through town. However, that’s probably the problem for now – as you might tell from the photos, it’s too quiet… The next step is to get some “activation” of the space with the help of some of the adjacent buildings and plots of land – many of them still empty. There have been a few cafes, restaurants and bars pop up alongside but even they’ve been a bit transient so far. More encouraging is the presence of some new housing developments going up right next door along the corridor, which will bring a few more “locals” to the area.

Matai Common – lovely, but more people needed…

To celebrate the completion of the whole route, there’s a scavenger hunt competition currently underway – explore the corridor, find the answers to some questions, and be in to win a $4000 bike voucher from Action Bicycle Club! Hurry though; you have to get your entries in by 5pm this Sunday 29th

Have you explored the South Frame yet?


7 thoughts on “Hidden Treasures: The South Frame”

  1. It’s great to see how the Ford dealership have had the lane integrated into their complex. A good example of how compromise can produce a result that not only pragmatically works for all but can look good too.

    For the last 12 years there has been much comment about how the CBD has been developing into a a wasteland; that it is hostile to small businesses and retail is dead because people will always drive to the malls where there is parking. The irony is that if it was a new or used vehicle on your shopping list then the CBD is ( and always has been) absolutely the go-to retail mecca. Gerry Brownlee planned to change that and for that I think he should be commended. Even it it wasn’t to be, this result has to be the next best thing.

  2. I love this space! I think it will get discovered organically by loads more people once the apartment buildings under construction are completed and people move in and have friends visit. It’s going to become a cool, vibrant little area as soon as residents move in I reckon 🙂

  3. It’s now on my “must vist” list. Thanks for bringing it to my notice.

    But why mention a competition that’s already closed (a day late us still too late)?

    1. The map is hard to understand as s the two main roads the Southern Frame crosses – Colombo and Manchester aren’t labelled.

      Good wayfinding is meant to be easy to understand, this isn’t!

      1. Blame OpenStreetMap for the way they position their street labels – if I zoomed in further to get them shown, I wouldn’t be able to see the whole South Frame route. I’d like to think most people know the main north-south streets of central Christchurch though…

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