Christchurch’s Central City travel network is getting another boost, with three further transport projects given the go-ahead – creating a compact pedestrian-, bus- and cycle-friendly core, while maintaining good access for private vehicles.
Christchurch City Council today gave its approval for designs and associated traffic operational changes for three Central City transport projects under the umbrella of An Accessible City – the transport chapter of the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan.
An Accessible City is being delivered by the Council and Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, and has been developed in partnership with the New Zealand Transport Agency, Environment Canterbury and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.
Roading changes will be made at sections of Hagley Avenue, St Asaph, Tuam, Antigua and Montreal streets near Christchurch Hospital; and sections of Durham Street / Cambridge Terrace and Manchester Street.
Councillor Phil Clearwater, Chair of the Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee, says, “With this decision to approve these projects we can look forward to the pace picking up in 2016 for the delivery of our new Central City travel network.
“These proposed works are designed to integrate with already-completed transport projects in the Central City around the new Bus Interchange, as well as other early anchor projects including the Christchurch Hospital redevelopment, the new Health Precinct and works within Te Papa Ōtākaro / Avon River Precinct. They also complement other significant upcoming developments such the new retail precinct, East Frame, new Central Library and Performing Arts Precinct,” Cr Clearwater says.
Bus Super Stop
As well as approving the overall transport project for Manchester Street, the Council has approved the location of the bus super stop on Manchester Street either side of the Worcester Street intersection.
Cr Clearwater says, “The decision to approve the location of the bus super stop was a particularly difficult and hotly-debated one for Councillors, who were very mindful of submissions from nearby property owners and heritage groups opposed to the location.
"We absolutely respect that people are passionate about the remaining heritage buildings on Manchester Street and have encouraged staff to come up with a solution that better blends bus passenger needs with these important buildings and developments. As a result, there will be no shelter structure in front of the Shand's Emporium building or the Trinity Church.
"Unfortunately, there was no straightforward or easy answer to the complex issue of finding the best location for the bus super stop on Manchester Street. However, we believe the location in the two blocks between Gloucester and Hereford Street is key to delivering bus priority along the corridor and we are pleased we have found a way forward," says Cr Clearwater.
The Council's approval includes a commitment to redesign the proposed Manchester Street bus super stop shelter (located between Hereford and Worcester streets) in consultation with objectors who had expressed concerns about the access effects and visual impact of the proposed bus super stop canopy.
This decision is in line with the findings of the recent Council Hearings Panel which heard objections specifically on the shelter proposals under Section 339 of the Local Government Act 1974. The panel asked staff to redesign the shelter, if the Council endorsed the location, by not having a canopy and retaining the 'pod' design to have less impact on access to frontage premises. The panel also requested the design team engage with affected property owners in the redesign process.
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) Deputy Chief Executive, Implementation, Baden Ewart says, “The Council, as our partner for the Manchester Street proposals, received submissions about the location and perceived impact the bus super stop may have on building fronts and future developments on the west side of the street. Selecting a preferred location for the bus super stop on the Manchester Street corridor has been complex, involving detailed modelling and analysis, and we are confident the right location has been selected. We are happy to work with interested parties to come up with a shelter design that meets bus passenger needs, and blends in with all frontage developments.
"CERA and the Council are working together to design and deliver the Central City transport projects, which include the transformation of Manchester Street. These are complex projects which demand input from a wide range of expertise and it is an outstanding example of CERA and the Council working together to deliver on the vision presented to us through the ‘Share an Idea’ campaign. These projects support the vision of the Central City being green, vibrant and accessible.”
On Manchester Street, local businesses and developers were concerned about the proposed prevention of southbound, right-hand turns from Manchester Street into Armagh, Cashel and High streets and the impact this may have on Central City businesses and developments to the west of Manchester Street.
"The no right-hand turn arrangement was intended to promote bus efficiency. However, we have taken a fresh look at this and believe with better phasing of the signals we can keep the already-existing right-hand turn for general traffic at Armagh and Cashel streets without impacting on bus efficiency. This supports bus priority and delivers what we set out to achieve," says Cr Clearwater.
Public Transport Manager David Stenhouse says, "The scheme design for Manchester Street aims to support the Manchester Street route becoming the main north-south public transport ‘spine’ for the Central City bus network between the new Bus Interchange, with key bus routes joining at Hereford and Gloucester streets.
"We are pleased the Council has committed to developing a management plan for this important corridor, to ensure bus journey reliability can be maintained in the long-term as the Central City is rebuilt.
"Bus priority is a key factor in our long-term plans for the travel network across the city. With the projected future tripling of bus usage in the Central City, we need to have a high-quality bus experience that is safe, convenient and is situated in a well-landscaped, pleasant environment that makes bus transport an attractive travel option for many more people," Mr Stenhouse says.
The concept designs focus on three groups of streets within the Central City:
The CERA-led, Council-supported consultation on scheme designs for the three projects was undertaken from 28 April to 26 May 2015, with 102 submissions received.
Further information about these transport projects is available at www.ccc.govt.nz/AACtransportprojects
General information about the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan and An Accessible City can be found at www.ccdu.govt.nz/the-plan