City Council Transport Policy

2021 will introduce policies to ensure that Christchurch is a city that people can get around quickly, easily and safely.

  1. Improve city planning and design so that people can live locally without the need to travel long distances to access community facilities.
  2. Implement peak-time clearways for bus priority – e.g. Bus lanes and clearways
  3. Support existing cycle strategy and network plan
  4. Increase the priority given to pedestrians in transport planning
  5. Provide specific space on arterial corridors for public transport – then later if feasible these can be used for light rail.
  6. Make a submission to the ECan PPT Strategy Review about the possibility and extending the free transfer period.
  7. Rebuild relationships with ECan and Central Government to ensure appropriate funding for roading and public transport, with a particular emphasis on public transport.

Introduction
Congestion is increasing as people are travelling more for work, leisure and recreation, and we have a growing population. Dispersed development in suburbs on the outer edge of the city is exacerbating the problem. The result is a number of congested locations particularly noticeable at peak traffic times. Building more roads to meet demand is an expensive and short-term solution to congestion – any new roads very quickly reach capacity and little gain is made.

Bus reliability in Christchurch is compromised by this congestion. In the 2006 Census, 7000 people (5% of commuters) travelled to work by bus. For bus patronage to increase bus trips should not be much longer than the car journey, and buses need to run on time. Congested roads are causing wide variability in bus travel time, and hence an unpredictable timetable. This is a real turnoff for bus users, especially for commuters.

Increasing the numbers travelling on public transport is an efficient and effective way of reducing congestion. While in the future rail may be feasible, now and in the medium-term enhancing the existing successful bus service will offer affordable and tangible gains.

Walking and cycling are popular in Christchurch – 17,000 (12%) of us walked or biked to work in 2006 – and they are important modes of transport for school children. Making walking and cycling safer and more convenient will help to boost the numbers of people using active transport. This will not only reduce traffic congestion, but will increase physical fitness and quality of life.

A 2021 Council will:

  1. Improve city planning and design so that people can live locally without the need to travel long distances to access community facilities.
    Chronic traffic congestion is often a symptom of more fundamental community design problems, such as inadequate mobility options that force people to drive for every trip, and dispersed land use patterns that increase travel distances. Where this is true, expanding roads may reduce short term symptoms but exacerbate long term problems. City planning should ensure that people can access local shops and community facilities without having to travel or travel long distances.
  2. Implement peak-time clearways for bus priority – e.g. Bus lanes and clearways
    The most obvious and well understood method for priority is bus lanes or clearways which dedicate road space to buses, give buses an uninterrupted priority and allow pick-ups and drop-offs without disrupting other traffic. Bus lanes usually operate all the time, whereas clearways are restricted to peak times. Bus lanes may necessitate loss of parking – clearways restrict parking at peak times only so are generally more acceptable to adjacent shop owners. Bus boarders, as are being trialled on Hills Road, are not a cost-effective or acceptable solution. It is not prudent when introducing bus priority for the first time in the city to choose a method which is not easily understood and significantly disaffects other road users.
  3. Support existing cycle strategy and network plan
    The existing cycle strategy is a combination of cycle lanes and off road paths. It is important that network is completed with good cycle access through intersections. A 2021 Council would reprioritise the transport budget to enable faster completion of the cycle network. It is currently half-finished, and with the current spend of under $1M per year will take 20 years to complete.
  4. Increase the priority given to pedestrians in transport planning
    During street renewals, especially in the inner city and suburban “hub” areas, greater priority will be given to the needs of pedestrians, to improve comfort and safety for people walking in the area.
  5. Provide specific space on arterial corridors for public transport – then later if feasible these can be used for light rail.
    2021 will work in partnership with ECan, central government and transport providers to plan for two dedicated bus corridors by 2012 – one north-south, the other west-east.
    A dedicated corridor – to be used by buses initially but could be uses by light rail in the future – will be built so that it does not interact with road traffic. That will mean it goes under or over roadways. It will require land purchase and investment. Residential intensification could occur along this corridor.
    Light rail may be a long-term solution to congestion but will be expensive, and in the short to medium term something must be done to address growing congestion. Space can be provided on arterial corridors for buses which can later (if feasible) be used for light rail, or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). “Park and Ride” may be an option for travel from peripheral locations such as Rolleston and Rangiora.
    Rail was considered in the Urban Development Strategy process but was dismissed as a viable option for the foreseeable future because of

      The lack of penetration of existing rail lines into the CBD

    • The cost of providing the additional infrastructure (double tracking existing lines, providing new lines, improving existing stations, providing new stations, integrating stations with their surrounding area)
    • The urban form in Greater Christchurch currently lacks the density needed to make new services and stations viable within their walking catchments
    • The option of providing feeder bus services is not attractive to commuters who are deterred if they have to change modes
  6. Make a submission to the ECan PPT Strategy Review about the possibility and extending the free transfer period.
    2021 will make a submission to ECan to investigate extending the free transfer period to four hours during non-peak times, to encourage inner-city shopping and investigate extending the route and frequency of the free inner-city Shuttle service.
  7. Rebuild relationships with ECan and Central Government to ensure appropriate funding for roading and public transport, with a particular emphasis on public transport.
    Christchurch needs a Mayor and Council who will rebuild relationships to ensure a co-ordinated approach to our city’s challenges and funding of infrastructure and services such as roading and public transport. We will also ensure that the new Bus Exchange is sited and constructed to maximise the efficiency of the bus system, and to make the central city a more attractive destination.