Christchurch Transport Update

Lots has happened in transport in Christchurch over the last few weeks so I thought I’d just put together a list in case anyone’s missed anything.

  1. Lime launched their e-scooter share scheme. They placed 400 dockless e-scooters all around Christchurch (and some in Auckland too). All you need is a smartphone with the app installed and set up with your credit card. I went for a ride, which was exhilirating, they really are very fun to ride. There’s a lot of debate about whether they belong on the road, cycle lane or footpath. After riding one I’m still not sure. I’m interested in seeing how they go in Christchurch. Overseas they have succeeded in cities that have a large population of CBD workers who train and bus in and therefore have no car or bike with them all day. These scooters suit them well for short trips throughout the day to meetings, shops or eateries. But Christchurch has fewer CBD workers, and fewer again who catch public transport in. Time will tell I guess…image009
  2. Consultation on Ecan’s draft public transport plan closed. Christchurch City Council are pushing for the zero emissions part of the proposal to be accelerated. This is great news given the latest report that came out from the United Nations saying climate change is worse than previously thought and we need to act fast to give our kids a decent shot.
  3. Christchurch City Council are now consulting on lowering speed limits to 40km/h throughout a swathe of relatively new, quiet residential streets in Halswell West. This will reduce the risk of people being killed and injured in this area, and will likely result in more kids walking, scootering and biking to schools and playgrounds in the suburb. Glen Koorey demonstrated here how the 30km/h speed limits in the central city have already saved somewhere in the order of 20 people from being killed or injured. A great result all round. If anyone doesn’t know – 30kmh is roughly the speed you can be hit by a car and still survive. If it’s going any faster than this your chance of survival plummet. My only question is why this proposal is for 40kmh rather than 30kmh, which is what all the science points to as being the more suitable speed when pedestrians are present. It’s a solution that doesn’t really make any sense from a technical/scientific point of view, but seems to be a compromise being done to appease the public who don’t yet understand this. Madrid recently reduced 80% of their city streets to 30km/h in one fell swoop. Christchurch would benefit hugely from doing this too, rather than the very gradual rollout. But I guess you have to do everything in small steps when you live in a functional democracy.
  4. Last month, for international car-free day, ECAN made their buses free. This, along with a whole lot of marketing, resulted in 60% more trips than a typical Saturday. Coincidentally, on the same day I also spotted this article about how Dunkirk, a city of 200,000 people with a bus system but no trains or trams, have made all their buses free. There have previously been suggestions for making Christchurch buses free, but they’ve tended to come from fairly radical people out on the fringes – I’ve never seen any detailed economic analysis of the costs and benefits of doing this. It would cost a bit, but the savings in construction of additional road infrastructure would be absolutely massive if you regularly achieved anywhere near a 60% switch of people out of cars and into buses. I reckon it might be worth crunching the numbers on…
  5. For anyone else who has heard of MAAS (Mobility as a Service) but been a bit hazy as to what it actually is, Glen Koorey gave a short 7 minute talk explaining it very clearly at the Pecha Kucha night a few weeks ago. His presentation is here.
  6. Just today Christchurch City Council published their Draft Suburban Parking Policy for public consultation. I’ll do a proper post later on this.
  7. Brendon Harre posted a thoughtful article further exploring “hyperlocalism”, defined as “controlling land-use at a more local level than local government, or shifting land-use powers to a more local level.” Lots of ideas on how areas of Christchurch can go about transforming themselves from low-density car-dependent suburbs, into higher-density walkable neighbourhoods with good public transport.
  8. The Christchurch City Council and Christchurch Coastal Pathway Group just announced today that the 800m section of path between Shag Rock and Sumner Surf Lifesaving Club will begin construction and be ready to use in a year or so. Great stuff from all involved with another piece in place. It does still leave a couple of key gaps but hopefully the construction difficulties can be worked through and we get the whole length completed over the next few years.

That’s all I think. Feel free to leave a comment on anything I’ve forgotten.

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