First Look: Rolleston Ave / Park Tce Cycleway

The pink line shows the extent of the new cycleway running down the west side of Rolleston Ave / Park Tce

As mentioned briefly the other day, Rolleston Ave and Park Tce in the central city have had a bit of a rapid makeover in the past few weeks, creating a new interim separated cycleway while major refurbishment works are underway for the next few years at the adjacent Canterbury Museum. I went along to have a look at it on the weekend; there were still a few layout and marking details to be completed, but you could start to get the sense of what has been built.

Basically, the proposal has managed to narrow up the traffic lanes along the southern bit of Rolleston Ave, making room to create a separated cycleway behind the parking. Further north, the coach bus parking that used to sit outside the museum has been relocated, again allowing space for the separated cycleway to continue. North of Armagh St, one of the northbound traffic lanes has been removed (hardly necessary with <10,000 vehicles/day) to allow the cycleway to continue through to the Salisbury St footbridge. Along the way, there have also been some improvements to pedestrian crossing points and bus stops as well.

Here are a few pics of the route from bottom to top:

The start of the cycleway connecting the Boatshed Bridge route – still needing markings here
You can see how parking has been shifted over to make space for the cycleway
With the works around the museum a new zebra crossing aligns with a planned new entrance to the Botanic Gardens
A little bit of work still to complete the upgraded signals at Gloucester St
A clever little bypass behind the pedestrian island for the bus stop
North of Armagh St, a traffic lane has been swapped for the cycleway
Special cycle signals at Kilmore St allow bikes to bypass the intersection
Cycleway or shared pathway? Still some variety in choices made
The top end of the cycleway at Salisbury St – needs some posts installed though

What’s notable about this project is how fast it was installed. Using just a combination of painted surfaces and flexible posts, this cycleway was rolled out in a matter of weeks.

It’s obviously early days yet, with some final road markings and separators still to go in when I visited. Already the cycleway was getting some use (not all of it legitimate, judging by the photo below…) but it was interesting to see that many people were still riding on the adjacent shared path by the river – maybe that will change once it is more clearly marked and people appreciate its advantages over the existing shared path.

Whoops! Someone went down the wrong way… (a twisted around sign probably didn’t help them)

Of course it wouldn’t be a cycleway in Christchurch without some controversy. So perhaps it was not surprising to see some City Councillors claim this week that they weren’t aware of the proposals for this cycleway, despite being briefed on it previously. Ironically one of them had also recently complained on TV that Christchurch’s cycleways are “over engineered” and too costly, and yet here is an example of how cycleways can sometimes be constructed quickly and inexpensively where necessary – some people are never pleased…

What do you think of the new cycleway along Rolleston & Park?

14 thoughts on “First Look: Rolleston Ave / Park Tce Cycleway”

  1. I had a crack on the weekend. Loved it. Agree the speed of delivery is amazing.

    The signage and surface paint is a bit of a concern… I can see why people are a bit confused. Hopefully they’ll put some green paint down this week?

    1. Yep, the final plans have more markings to go down – usually the last thing installed after the physical works…

  2. I’ve been using it and it’s nice and smooth, but it makes my trip a little harder in 3 points.

    Heading into town from the park, I turn right after going over the Armagh St bridge. There’s a large advertising bollard there which makes the pedestrian route a bit tricky when crossing from town towards Christs. That means they tend to walk straight along the bike path, intead of doubling around the bollard to get on the pedestrian path

    There are temporary traffic lights outside the main entrance to Christs but I don’t think this was thought of during the design. It’s not obvious that cyclists have to stop with the main intersection lights.

    I turn left onto Cashel St at the end of the cycleway, which means I need to stop in the cyclelane, or very close to the oncoming traffic, to execute the left turn

    None awful but all a bit niggly

    1. I think when the cycle signals are added to the intersection at Gloucester/Christs’ College it will be more like the ones installed at Kilmore St, i.e. cyclists will get a red cycle signal when cross-traffic or crossing pedestrians are present.

  3. I rode the new cycle path today, in both directions. I think it’s great and will go a long way to alleviating the congestion and safety concerns of the shared “footpath”.

    My congratulations and thanks to the designers and implementers.

    Have also driven along the modified vehicle lanes and didn’t encounter any issues.

  4. Wonderful. Nice design, no road closures for months as we usually expect. Sorely needed along this strip, there were too many people/ cycles/scooters/ mobility scooters/ crutches and everything else! I was expecting to come across a nasty accident on the footpath sooner or later.
    Some cyclists just don’t slow down. I notice that if you have 10 cyclists, you probably have 10 different speeds, unlike car traffic. The Armagh St Bridge is still a hazardous point.

  5. Park Terrace. I cannot understand why this was done when there are already two cycle lanes following Park Terrace. One beside the terrace, and the other over the river in Hagley Park. This is an absolute a waste of time and money when one considers, for cycles, the infrastructure was already there . This has slowed vehicle movement, for example, coming off Kilmore St, created congestion, and therefore will elevated pollution.

    1. If there were two cycleways alongside Park Terrace it wouldn’t be problem. There is a narrow footpath between the road and river that is difficult to share with pedestrians. If it were to be upgraded, that may work. The Hagley Park shared path is better, but once again, sharing with pedestrians. The project has identified that the volume of cyclists justifies that a cycle only lane on Park Terrace is warranted. Having to reroute into Hagley Park is difficult for anyone biking or scootering and wish to turn right into Peterborough St.

      Post earthquake it was identified that both Salisbury and Kilmore Streets could be reverted back to being two way streets to improve accessibility in the area. Neither have traffic counts that warrant being two lane in one direction. Park Terrace is likely to be in a similar position. What creates congestion is perpetually increasing vehicle numbers by taking a non-holistic approach to road space. If it is more difficult for non-vehicular traffic to move about safely, of course people will choose to drive . The project is a small step in the right direction to bring other transport choices into the equation.

  6. I partook in a cycle study of this area a few years ago and gave my opinion then that the numbers of people using the space was too high for it to be a shared space. I am so glad to see the pedestrian and cyclists spaces separated out in front of the museum. The only way to do it safely was for cyclists to go as slow or slower than walking speed which defeats the reason of being on a bicycle.

    1. Nice! The new camera video seemed a little glitchy but seems to have sorted itself now…

  7. @criggy – that 360 camera footage is awesome! It’s a pity you still have to merge into traffic to turn right into town, but otherwise the new section looks great

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