Lincoln Road Bus Lanes

My last blog entry identified places where bus lanes would be most beneficial around Christchurch. One of the locations was Lincoln Road, which carries the Orange route, and has no bus lanes despite getting heavily congested in peak times. Catching the bus in peak times can be very frustrating, often with views like this where you can see the bus just down the road, but it can’t get to you due to the congestion.

Waiting for a bus that can’t get to you is never fun…

This week Christchurch City Council announced plans for public consultation to install bus lanes on Lincoln Road, here. There are quite a few plans and a nice video animation – I won’t try to reproduce them all here – just click the link above to see them all.


It also includes a short section of Moorhouse Avenue leading up to the Lincoln Road intersection.

The bus lane would be fulltime from Selwyn Street on Moorhouse Avenue up to Harman Street on Lincoln Road, while the remainder of the Lincoln Road lanes would be part time. The inbound lane would operate 7-9am weekdays, with room for parking and cycling outside those times. Conversely, the outbound lane would operate 4-6pm weekdays.

There are two sections:

  • Through the village between Moorhouse Avenue and Whiteleigh Avenue
  • Further out, between Wrights Road and Curletts Road – this section is for information only and won’t be built for several years.

These are separated by the 4-lane section between Whiteleigh Avenue and Wrights Road, in which no changes are proposed.

Under current conditions, these bus lanes will save passengers an average of about 3.5 minutes every morning and 5.5 minutes every evening. They will become more beneficial as traffic gets worse with residential growth in the southwest; between 35,000 and 70,000 additional residents are planned to settle in and around Halswell in the next 30 years. Just as importantly, the bus lanes will make the trip much more reliable, taking roughly the same time every day, rather than varying all over the place depending on how heavy traffic is. The lanes are also necessary to increase bus frequencies from the 15 minute headways they have now. Buses are operating close to capacity at the moment so will need to be able to increase their frequency soon.

The project includes a few other interesting features:

  • A new signalised pedestrian outside the MediaWorks building
  • 30km/h speed limit through the village area
  • Relocation of the famous “Trumpeter” statue
  • Right-turn bans in and out of some of the smaller side-streets
  • Improvements for people riding bikes

I suspect the most controversial part of the project will be parking. People accessing the businesses on Lincoln Road will not be able to park immediately outside the shops during peak times, but instead will have to park in off-street parking, or around the corner on one of the sidestreets. Parking on the sidestreets is being changed to P60 to ensure there will always be spaces available for them; this is currently taken up by commuters.

There aren’t a lot of people using the Lincoln Road carparks at peak times. I travel this road every day so I took a few photos on my commute – these are pretty typical of the morning and evening peak times. The low demand for parking makes sense as many of the businesses have off-street parking, and for those that don’t, the side-street parking is never more than a few hundred metres away.

8am on a Monday – parking is deserted.
And 5pm – there’s the occasional parked car now, but still the majority of parks are sitting empty

The current plan looks like it could work really well. But there is a very real danger that this project could go the way of every other bus lane project in Christchurch and end up with a small number of business owners kicking up a fuss and forcing Council to squeeze in car parks that don’t fit, which then reduce the effectiveness of the bus lanes. Make sure to have your say at the link below so Council can get an idea of a wider cross-section of society, rather than just the few loudest people – it only takes a minute.

If you are thinking of making a submission but aren’t sure what to write, here are some ideas:

  • Better public transport is important to me – please implement this without compromising.
  • The times of operation are quite limited – please consider;
    • allowing the citybound lane to operate in the evening as well as the morning;
    • allowing both lanes to operate midday on Saturdays when traffic can get quite bad;
    • beginning the evening operation at 2:30pm rather than 4pm, to capture the busy after-school period;
  • There are a lot of people walking, mingling, riding bikes, and crossing roads in this area. Ensuring vehicles are travelling at a “survivable speed” is important. Please don’t compromise on the 30km/h speed limit.
  • It’s awesome that we’re keeping the Trumpeter Statue – any of the three locations looks good.

6 thoughts on “Lincoln Road Bus Lanes

  1. I hope it goes ahead. If retailers get antsy about losing parking on the main street, I hope the Council will consider putting more information about parking in the “Why” section of their information. They could put in a bit of information showing that retailers usually overestimate the importance of on-street parking just outside their shops, whereas customers are quite happy with side street parking. Above all, they want good pedestrian amenity between the shops in the area so it’s easy to get around, regardless of how they travelled there.


  2. What is the point of saving 3.3 mins going into the city when driving in the city the buses are slowed to 30 kms so they then loose 3 .3 minutes


    1. Stephen, there are a number of ways that slower speed limits do not necessarily reduce travel times much.

      Research shows that slower speeds definitely encourage mode shift to walking and cycling, because the environment is so much safer and more pleasant. Unlike other methods of mode shift, this one doesn’t result in much ‘replacement’ of those cars with other cars. So often, there is simply less traffic. It can be so considerable, that some cities are adopting lower speeds because of the lower traffic volumes and air pollution and carbon emissions that the lower speeds bring.

      In some places, traffic volumes have risen slightly, from the improved traffic flow that happens at slower speeds. And the environment is still safer and nicer to walk.

      Meanwhile, the buses get the bus lanes so everything is better for them.

      Slower speeds in the suburbs are the thing we need to be pushing for because of the increase in uptake of children walking and cycling to school it would bring, and therefore the huge reduction in school drop off traffic. It would make parents’ travel time much shorter, being able to let the kids go independently. And everyone else would have a quicker trip too.


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