First Look: Northern Line – northern section

The new sections of Northern Line now open!

The Northern Line (sometimes still referred to as the “Railway Cycleway”) has been a mainstay of Christchurch’s off-road cycle network for many years. Plans have been afoot for some years to extend it further north and south along the railway corridor; we’re still waiting on the southern bit, but just recently the last few sections heading north towards Main North Rd were completed.

I understand that there will be an official opening sometime in July, but we took the opportunity to check it out early over the weekend.

Along the way north, we noticed a couple of things, good and bad. Firstly, it’s nice to see that some of the sections through Papanui that were previously a bit narrow and rough have now been widened and smoothed (although it would be nice to see the same on the sections either side as well!).

These paths are much nicer than before

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting to see some progress on getting proper signalised crossings across Harewood, Langdons, and Sawyers Arms Rds, all of which can be very busy to safely run the gauntlet. The hold-up appears to be at KiwiRail’s end and with luck we might finally see some progress by the end of the year…

Over six years ago in this photo, this crossing of Harewood Rd was being set up for signals…

On to the new bits… Previously the cycleway stopped at Tuckers Rd; if you wanted to go further north you had to take a route through some side streets and Redwood Park.

Tuckers Rd – this used to be the end of the line north…

The next section through to Sturrocks Rd has now been completed, as well as upgraded path crossings of the railway line.

…now there’s a new layout at Tuckers Rd!

Being a relatively quiet road, a simple GIVE WAY crossing gets you across the road.

Across the road and on to the new pathway…

The new section provides a nice wide path alongside the railway line.

Lots of width – and protection from rail and water

At Sturrocks Rd, again improvements have been made to the adjacent railway path crossings and a simple GIVE WAY crossing over the road.

Approaching Sturrocks Rd

The next section of pathway through Barnes Reserve has already been in place for a few years now, allowing a bit more space to meander.

Into Barnes Reserve

At Barnes Rd, again we see a new GIVE WAY crossing leading to the next section and some path crossings of the railway line.

Barnes Rd – another local street cycleway crossing

The final section curves alongside the railway corridor as it heads towards the Main North Rd overbridge.

The final section north – now open!

Generally the widths along the path are quite generous, just narrowing where needed at a couple of pinch points.

Again, not bad width for most of it

At Main North Rd, the pathway swings north to connect with the existing pathway leading on to Northwood.

Approaching Main North Rd – a bit of colour/markings around the blind bend

Overall the new facility is looking pretty good, with good space and crossing treatments (looking forward to the remaining signalised crossings…). It’s great to be able to get all the way through to Northwood from Riccarton now away from traffic!

Alongside Main North Rd looking towards Styx Mill Rd and beyond

Have you tried the new section of the Northern Cycleway yet?

3 thoughts on “First Look: Northern Line – northern section”

  1. New line marking for the bollard by Tuckers Rd doesn’t follow the current standard (more warning of the approaching bollard). And the bollard in Barnes Reserve photo has no reflectors. Chch cycleways are very hit or miss in this area.

    Are the give way signs legal road signs for this path or more like suggestions?

  2. This is a great improvement; and not before time. Thanks to those from the Waipapa Papanui-Innes-Central Community Board for their patient support throughout and for keeping the pedal down when it comes to making the area safer and easier to get around. We need more community board representatives to have the vision of (most of ) this Community Board.

    If Harewood Road and Langdon’s Road crossings are proving a barrier for many, it is worth noting ( when heading south, with a plan to ride in the Papanui Road region) that it is possible to turn left from the path into Langdons and head east to cross Main North Road onto Mary Street. Langdons Road has slow moving traffic these days alongside Northlands. The wait time to cross Main North Road here into Mary Street can be much shorter than at Grassmere Street on the Papanui Parallel Cycleway. Mary Street area has traffic calming and from there, there are several quiet streets from it that will take you to Papanui Road quite enjoyably.

  3. It’s definitely a great upgrade from the previous desire trail along the railway and I expect it will be well used. The road crossings at Tuckers Rd deals like more of a maze to get through all the fences on the south side. (not as tricky as where the south express crosses the railway) does anyone know if this a KiwiRail requirement or for another reason?

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