3 Jul 2017

Exploring the unique wilderness of the residential red zone just got a little bit easier.

A growing number of people are walking or biking through the area and advocacy group Avon Ōtākaro Network (AvON) suggested that reinstating street signs, removed when the land was cleared of houses, would help people find their way. 

Street signs are returning to the residential red zone.

A sign marking Kia Ora Street is the first of 94 to be restored to the residential red zone.

With funding from Christchurch City Council’s Enliven Places Programme and free installation donated by Fulton Hogan Signs and Graphics, 94 traditional street signs have been reinstated in the residential red zone.

In addition, 26 new “wayfinding” signs, giving directions to main arterial routes around Horseshoe Lake, Avonside, Bexley and Dallington, have been installed.

AvON Spokesperson Evan Smith says installing the signs is a step towards bringing the red zone back to life.

“They will help people navigate their way because it can be quite easy to get disoriented and many people are exploring the Red Zone for the first time. Having the street signs there means people can use mapping apps on their phones to find their way around.

“It’s also a mark of respect for the old communities to put the signs back because it means that the old streets won’t disappear, they’ll live on in a way. They also make it easier for former residents to come back and see where their homes used to be.”

The signs are the same as regular street signs with a blue background and white writing. The wayfinding signs underneath are yellow and point to major arterial routes.

Mr Smith says the residential red zone is becoming very popular with walkers, cyclists and people wanting to harvest from fruit and nut trees in the area.

“People are being asked for their ideas about the future of the red zone and it’s much easier to contribute to that process if you’ve actually experienced it. People are blown away by the size of the land and the number of people who had to move on from there.”

The new signs will help people access Te Ara Ōtākaro, the transitional Avon River Trail, currently being built in the Avonside area and due to be completed through to New Brighton by next year. The walking and cycling trail will provide a route that joins the city to the sea following along the banks of the Avon River.

Council head of Urban Design, Regeneration, and Heritage Carolyn Ingles says it’s wonderful to see Avon Ōtākaro and Fulton Hogan work together to create a solution that benefits the local community.

"It's great to see the signs installed and to know they're helping people navigate an area that is very significant for Christchurch residents.”