First Look: South Express Part Two

Last week I started introducing you to the first section of the South Express Major Cycle Route, as far as Upper Riccarton. That section of the cycleway has been mostly in place for well over a year already, but many of the bits further west have only been installed in the past month or two. So I was able to finally have a good look at them a couple of weeks back to see the finished route to Hornby.

The western half of the South Express (click to enlarge)

Let’s start where we left off last time; at Main South Road about to turn into Craven St towards the Sockburn suburbs.

Heading along Craven St, with a mid-block cycle crossing

The route here consists largely of separated cycleways alongside the suburban streets. A couple of times the cycleway crosses to the other side via a simple raised crossing.

Heading around the corner onto Middlepark Rd

At Taggart Park, the cycleway leaves the road corridor and takes a shortcut through to Taggart Place.

Riding through Taggart Reserve

Taggart Place is a low-volume cul de sac, so the cycle route becomes a 30km/h neighbourhood greenway until it returns to an off-road path heading around onto Epsom Rd.

Taggart Place approaching Epsom Rd

Midway along Epsom Rd we come across another signalised cycle crossing providing prompt service for any approaching riders.

Signalised crossing on Epsom Rd

The cycleway then heads through the Pararua Stream Reserve, which provides a convenient connection through to Racecourse Rd.

Lots of extra path width here

The existing pathway through here has been widened where possible, although it’s still a bit tight in places next to the waterway.

A little bit tight, but a pleasant ride

At Racecourse Rd is the last piece not quite complete, with the traffic signals still waiting to be commissioned when we visited recently.

Just waiting for the traffic lights to be ready…

The cycleway now follows the existing power pylon corridor alongside Riccarton Racecourse (hopefully they will provide easy access to/from the Riccarton Markets…).

New pathway; just need the temporary fencing gone…

Throughout the off-road sections, the shared paths are a good width for walking and cycling.

A nice new bridge along the way

Eventually the cycleway encounters one of the new subdivisions adjacent to the racecourse. There is a bit of a fiddly crossing of Kahukura Rd – would be nice to improve that point.

Running through the ‘burbs…

The cycleway then reaches State Highway 1 (aka Carmen Rd) and swings around to a signalised crossing.

Carmen Rd crossing: no approach detectors unfortunately

Perhaps not surprisingly for a state highway, this crossing is not always as prompt as the other ones, and you also have to do it in two staggered parts.

A two-part crossing of this busy road

The cycleway then heads down Carmen Rd and swings into Buchanans Rd where the shared path splits off into a separate off-road cycleway again.

Separated pathway along Buchanans Rd

At Hei Hei Rd, the cycleway turns south, again with a signalised crossing to get you across to the other side.

Approaching the signalised crossing towards Hei Hei Rd

Hei Hei Rd has quite a lot of side roads and driveway crossings; there is also a school halfway down. The separated cycleway does a pretty good job of handling all of these conflict points.

Highlighting the various crossing points

As the cycleway approaches Waterloo Rd, there is a bit of an annoying jink around the corner to the crossing – why can’t it be more direct?

This deviation around the corner is a bit annoying…

The signalised crossing of Waterloo is currently the end of the line for the South Express; at least it connects to the pathway through Kyle Park towards the Hornby shops.

Cross here and that’s about it!

The next part of the South Express is planned to head west along Waterloo Rd and run past the Waterloo Business Park and then on to Templeton and ultimately Rolleston. Last time I checked, there was just a bit of path built near Halswell Junction Rd – more still to come…

All the great work has been well worth the wait!

Even without the last bit to be constructed, already the South Express is providing a very handy route for lots of people in the western suburbs. If you want to watch a full video of the cycle route in from Hornby to Riccarton, you can check out this video of the ride by Jono D.

What do you think of the South Express cycleway?

6 thoughts on “First Look: South Express Part Two”

  1. Access to Riccarton Market would be so good. It’s really been quite a pain historically to get there on bike for me (coming from Spreydon) with no real options but traversing heavily trafficed main arteries. It would be great to trundle all the way to the market. And while we’re at it, bike stands at Riccarton Market too please!

  2. The ride to or from Rolleston into Christchurch is now much more enjoyable and feasible thanks to this extention with much more of the route off road. It is interesting to note that Selwyn District Council has done a good job building off road cycle paths along much of Jones Road to Templeton (even building part of it across the boundary with Christchurch City.) This will eventually connect with the Southern Express when it reaches Templeton. The only on road section of the Selwyn part is along Manions Road, a so called quieter rural road with a good shoulder. Unfortunately the surface is chip which is a bit rough to ride on and there are often trucks and larger vehicle with trailers who come and go from the various commercial properties along this road. At Weedons-Ross Road the path crosses the overbridge over SH1 (always a highlight) the only nasty bit is a crossing at the roundabout just over the bridge to a dedicated shared path into Rolleston. My only complaint about the Southern Express is the windy nature of the cycleway and it being quite stop start – but overall it is a great improvement and asset.

  3. This is a great route, and I use most of this on my daily commute to work. It’s a shame the gormless school kids walk to school in the Hei Hei cyclelanes though. I checked on the Land Transport Act, and it seems that pedestrians have as much right to walk in cyclelanes as cyclists have to be there.

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