24 Jan 2024

A lane drop trial around Christchurch Hospital showed the potential for increased delays to traffic flow particularly during peak evening hours.

The trial ran at the end of last year to test the feasibility of permanently removing a lane of traffic to increase on-street parking on parts of Riccarton and Hagley Avenues at Hospital Corner.  

Christchurch City Councillors have been presented with the results of the trial, which showed the most significant effects occurred during the evening peak where there was the potential for 50-80% longer travel times.

Staff reported the evening delays could compromise ambulance access to the hospital, as the intersection is one of the main routes for ambulances accessing the emergency department at Christchurch Hospital.

It may also impact the usability of the new car parks and overall traffic flow throughout the area.

Factors such as the opening of the new Tū Waka-Waipapa car parking building, delays caused by the entry/exit of vehicles into parking spaces and increased traffic demands when Parakiore Recreation and Sports Centre and new residential developments open may mean the trial’s observed delays could be understated.

During the first week of the trial, just the kerbside lane was removed, while the second week included rephasing of the traffic lights. This increased the length of the green light for left-turning vehicles by reducing the crossing time for cyclists and pedestrians.

The changes to the signal phasing reduced queue lengths and overall delays, however they also reduced service for people walking, biking, or scootering.

Councillors will consider a report and decide the next steps at an upcoming Council meeting.

Options will include installing parallel parking by permanently closing the lane, installing a time restricted clearway, or not progressing with the lane closure.