And just like that, another year is over and we ponder what has happened since we last reviewed the state of cycling Chch at the end of 2022 – suffice to say that it seems like a mix of things…
Who would have guessed at the beginning of the year that arguably the most contentious cycling facility in Christchurch in 2023 would be 800m of quick-build cycleway that took only three weeks to build for a very small cost? And yet, the Rolleston Ave/Park Tce pop-up cycleway because a touchstone of controversy because it had the temerity to take away one under-used traffic lane… Meanwhile, plenty of people are loving the safer connection that this now provides for biking!
Elsewhere, the cycleway network has continued to slowly extend in Chch, with two momentous completions of the Heathcote Expressway through to Heathcote Valley and the final piece of the Coastal Pathway through Moncks Bay, Meanwhile the South Express has also been quietly filling in its gaps out towards Hornby (I’ll post an update on that soon), and further construction continues on the final leg of the Nor’West Arc and the top end of the Northern Line.
It’s not just protected or quiet cycleways filling in the network. Sometimes something as simple as an improved painted cycle lane can make all the difference. And other similar little cycling projects are coming your way soon too – every little bit helps…
And, having built it, have people come to the party? Well, it was looking a bit uncertain at the start of the year, in the wake of lockdowns and various illnesses, but the more recent trend was looking much more positive (more on that in a couple of weeks). And consistently we find that a large proportion of people in Chch do cycle at some point, including an increasing number of women (even those who’ve come from out of town).
That’s not to say that everything is perfect about cycling in Christchurch when you start to look around. Various cycleways can be a mixed bag, and underpasses also have their challenges. And in Chch you certainly have to be careful around tram tracks too… I got to travel a bit around the country this year as well, so I was able to see how others are doing cycling too; as you might expect, it’s also a mix of good and bad, and sometimes even a little disorienting.
At least we’ve still had some great activities to entertain and stimulate us again. Numbers were down a bit this year at the Winter Solstice Ride (certainly compared with previous years), so we may need to think about how to boost that next year. Once again, Biketober had a wide range of programme offerings but, with seven years under the belt, we might also have to review how to keep that fresh and going strong. It was good to see that even non-cycling events are slowly getting better at providing bike parking as well.
Once again, my busy year (work and otherwise) limited my blog posting to just 30 new articles (and I even missed a couple of Flashback Fridays too…). My fellow guest bloggers were also a bit thin on the ground in 2023, so a big thank you to our newest regular contributor Angela, who in six months has already sent us riding virtually along many lovely cycling routes around Christchurch and the wider Canterbury area (and maybe we need to do a better job of promoting it as a city-wide network).
Looking ahead to 2024, well we’ve got a new Government that has already been saying various worrying things about cycleways and safer speeds – although I’m encouraged by what Chch City is doing, just carrying on with their good work. I’m looking forward to further additions to our cycleway network, as well as progress to start an overbridge of Brougham St in Addington. I’ll also be really interested to see what the 2023 Census figures reveal about the change in cycling in Chch since 2018. Happy New Year and keep on pedalling!
What did you think about cycling in Chch during 2023?