9 Aug 2016

More than 8000 people a week are walking or cycling the new Uni-cycle path through Hagley Park, according to new permanent counters placed along the path.

Detailed figures are now flowing in every day from eight new cycle and pedestrian counting sites installed throughout city in June, providing reliable statistics on cycleway and path usage for the first time.

Christchurch City Council Manager Planning and Delivery (Transport) Lynette Ellis said the counters were a watershed, giving an accurate read on cyclist and pedestrian numbers.

“These counters have been put in place to give us some baseline numbers. They’re in a variety of locations across the city currently, and as each major cycleway gets developed, they will be placed in there too,” Mrs Ellis said.

“If we can get these baseline numbers now, then we will be able to accurately measure the effect the development of new cycleways will have on the travel choices people are making."

The cycling Eco Counters use sensor cables placed under the road or shared path, while the pedestrian counters use infrared sensors placed in a bollard next to the path. The different sensors allow for the cycling and walking figures to be differentiated.

“Hagley Park is by far the busiest. We have around 600 to 900 cyclists a day using the new Unicycle path, and more than 400 pedestrians. The first month of figures show that the new Uni-cycle path is seeing 6000 to 8000 cyclists and pedestrians every week, in the middle of winter,” Mrs Ellis said.

“We only have one month of figures but what is really clear is that cycling around the city falls into two definite types – the recreational cycle routes, where the numbers are fairly steady throughout the day and increase at the weekend, and the commuter routes, where numbers peak morning and afternoon and go fairly quiet on the weekend. We’ve noticed that pedestrian numbers don’t tend to follow daily or hourly patterns, but cyclists definitely do.

“Hagley Park is a great example of a commuter route. You might think that because it’s a park, it would be busier in the weekend, but it is most definitely a commuter route and the figures show it really is the commuter gateway into the CBD.”

Mrs Ellis said staff had been interested to see that the numbers going through Main Road at Scott Park (Mount Pleasant) are fairly steady throughout the day, and then peak in the weekends, so it is definitely more of a recreational route.

“With these counters, technology is accurate, reliable and affordable. Up until five years ago, we literally counted traffic in Christchurch with a student standing at an intersection with a clicker. Cameras have taken that over, and these new eco counters are even more effective for cyclists and pedestrians. It’s an exciting time for us.

“As we get a better picture of the numbers, we’ll be able to start saying ‘this is a busy route … target here, or target there’.”

The counting sites are:
• Hagley Park - Uni-cycle
• Cashmere Road
• Buckleys Road
• Lincoln Road
• Colombo Street
• Heaton Street
• Marshland Road
• Main Road at Scott Park

Find out more on cycling in Christchurch.