© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2019

Staunch opposition to motorway plans

Nathan Morton

Cycling advocate urges city to prioritise public transport, not cars, as suburbs prepare for increased traffic from Northern Corridor.

The project has been subject to major opposition from people Papanui and St Albans, as well as cyclists. The $240 million motorway will increase traffic on Cranford St, which runs through the two suburbs. 

Go Cycle Christchurch spokesperson Connie Christensen spoke at a joint meeting of the Papanui-Innes and Linwood-Central-Heathcote community boards on Wednesday.

"There's already a lot of traffic going through there. If anything we need to be reducing the number of cars by endorsing public transport, supplying more options and making it a harder decision to go in the car on their own," she said.  

Christensen said the already-busy Cranford St was unsafe for cycling as it was "especially for people who aren't very confident on the roads". With an increase in "single-occupancy vehicles on this motorway, it's going to be outright unsafe", she said.

Dirk de Lu, spokesperson for cycling group Spokes Canterbury, believed the city council was stuck in a "business as usual" mindset. 

"I mean come on, the whole area east of Cranford St, all the way to the coast is horribly under-served in cycling infrastructure," he said

"There's no effective way to cycle safely and efficiently into the city. So I think the council has definitely dropped the ball in this instance."

The joint board meeting heard the submissions and pleas from more than 20 people, including residents and representatives from schools and businesses. Their collective plea was to put the community ahead of cars.

The motorway is due to finish by the end of next year.