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New cycleway could limit vehicle access

Logan Church
Ella Prendergast

A new cycleway will be built in Linwood but it could limit vehicle access in the area.


 

One line of shops on Worcester Street that will be affected by the cycle way.

One line of shops on Worcester Street that will be affected by the cycle way.

A new cycle way will be built in Linwood, but could limit vehicle access.

The Christchurch City Council Infrastructure, Transport and Environment committee has approved construction of the $1.5 million Rapanui-Shag Rock cycle way as part of the city-wide Major Cycle ways Project.

Council had planned to block Worcester St at the England St intersection but reconsidered the design after backlash from businesses.

Instead, vehicles would share the road with the bike path as it passes through the intersection.

The project will add raised platforms on roads to allow easier access for cyclists, as well as the addition of 31 trees.

However, the platforms could still mean trouble for the Linwood shopping area.

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A grass strip down the middle of Fitzgerald Avenue limits access to the Linwood shopping area. Source: Christchurch City Council

Cars would not be able to make right turns onto Worcester Street after the cycleway’s completion, thanks to a grass median strip down the middle of Fitzgerald Avenue.

Traffic driving to the area from the CBD would need to find another route.

Malcolm Mills, an affected business owner was concerned visitors would instead go elsewhere.

He said the cycle way will be detrimental for both his business and the development of the area.

Mills has been selling white ware products for over two-decades and said the community has a lot of potential.

“The only growth you are going to see in the area is the weeds in the vacant lots.”

Malcolm Mills speaking at the Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee meeting

Malcolm Mills speaking at the Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee meeting

Mills said he’s not against bicycles, but can’t understand why they are being given preference over cars.

“I’m just wondering why we can’t share the road.”

He said giving bikes priority would strangle the customer base in the Linwood village area.

However, in a Christchurch City Council report, the cycle ways are predicted to have a positive effect on local business.

The reports details a projected long term $1.2 billion benefit from the city wide cycle way project.

This is expected to come from the benefits for public health, less congestion on the roads, less subsequent road maintenance and faster commercial freight transport.

According to the report, the Christchurch City Council can expect a return of $5-$8 for every dollar invested in the project.

Business owner Michael Britnell did not agree. He said with the loss of vehicles it could only take away from businesses already struggling to survive.

Despite supporting biking as a method of transport, he did not believe there was a need for a ‘recreational’ cycle way through the city, nor did he agree with projected estimates of growing bike numbers.

Business issues


Michael Britnell chose the location for his business, Avon City Backpackers, bearing in mind the accessibility to town. He said council had already made changes to roads, effectively taking away important bus routes leading visitors to his area.

The approved cycleway came as another blow.

Britnell described council’s decision as atrocious and lousy.

Linwood

Michael Britnell said the area had a lot of character.

Public Consultation

A Christchurch city councillor said there has been extensive input from the public on the new cycle way.

City Councillor Phil Clearwater at today's committee meeting

City Councillor Phil Clearwater at today’s committee meeting.

Infrastructure, transport and Environment Committee chairman Phil Clearwater the consultation process was done extensively.

“Over a thousand documents were hand delivered to people… it was very well done.”

Councillor Clearwater said the council are getting better at consulting the public with every new project.

 

 

The Rapanui – Shag Rock Cycleway. Source: Christchurch City Council

The Rapanui – Shag Rock Cycleway. Source: Christchurch City Council