Spokes-CCC Victoria St Sub Due in 27 May
Victoria Street is a designated cycle route. This plan offers unsafe infrastructure to preserve on street parking. Your submission is needed. Use your own words, tell your stories of cycling hard up against parked cars while squeezed in by cars.
Public Sentiment and City Transport
Share an Idea found wide support for a city inviting to people on foot and bicycles. The ‘Accessible City Plan’ and Regenerate Christchurch’s 2017 ‘Central City Redevelopment Transport Planning’ both designate Victoria Street as a priority route for pedestrians, bicycles and buses. It is not prioritised for cars or parking.
The vision for the central city was as a shared space where people on foot or bicycle would feel safe and engage in the community.
Many residents are already showing their support for a people centred city. The Papanui Parallel MCR averages approximately 500-600 monthly. Cycle use on Victoria has increased 188% in two years.
What happened to produce this plan which fails on all counts?
1. Originally approved and near to start of construction in 2016 the plan was halted in the face of merchant opposition.
2. June 2017 “An Accessible City – Victoria Street Detailed Design Safety Audit” (not the actual proposal now being considered)
3. In 2018 Council staff began consultations with the merchants and residents in the area. No other stakeholders were contacted.
4. May 2019 and this plan focused on preserving on street parking is opened to consultation to non-privileged parties. (There are 2,500 car parks within 200 meters of Victoria Street and current on street parks achieve 74% uptake.)
The Setting and Specific Examples
Victoria Street is narrow and must serve many modes. A designated pedestrian route yet it offers footpaths 2.8m-2.9m wide. As it must accommodate buses vehicle lanes are 3.25m wide. A dedicated cycle route yet it offers people on bikes narrow 1.7m painted lanes which often simply end along on street parking as at Salisbury and Victoria. Car parking gets 2.1m on both sides of Victoria.
1.7m cycle lanes hard up against 2.1m on street parking will not appeal to the ‘interested but concerned’ cyclists Council claims to target. As designed experienced cyclists will take the lane and incur the wrath of drivers.
Trucks and most SUV’s along with poorly parked cars will protrude into the bike lane. The door swing area of 0.9m will reduce the cycle lanes to 0.8m, at best. Handlebar width of typical ebikes, cruisers, utility and comfort bikes are 0.7m+. Under ideal conditions with cars parked hard up against the kerb people on bikes will have 0.1m of space when dodging a car door opened into their path. This is unsafe and irresponsible design.
Congestion will be increased by on street parking with a 60 minute limit assuring frequent ins and outs to interrupt traffic and further reduce safety.
Victoria Street is a local cycle way as dictated by The Accessible City Plan – Transport chapter. Council must present a better, safer and more workable plan. This plan must be rejected.
An Easy and Obvious Solution
To comply with Council’s Cycle Design Guidelines for a local cycle way in this setting the project would need to implement section 3.2. (Emphasis added)
“3.2. Local cycleways through urban commercial centres
Local cycleways through commercial centres ideally will be separated cycle paths to provide a comfortable and safe
environment for cyclists. Separation can be achieved in a variety of different ways depending on the individual centre and competing needs.
Where there is limited street space available other options such as wide cycle lanes or a slow street environment can be considered.”
A slow street environment is recommended.
Due to the limited space alternatives must be considered. The Cycle Design Guidelines 3.3 offers more help.
“3.3. Local cycleways and residential streets
In urban residential streets, local cycleways ideally will be neighbourhood greenways which create a slow, safe environment where bicycles, vehicles and people can
comfortably co-exist. The quality of the environment and amenity of the residential street is also enhanced through the design.”
A slow streets and neighbourhood greenways approach with pedestrian and cycle priority is a far better fit for a narrow street in this densely commercial area with high pedestrian numbers. Speed could be further limited to 20km/h. Cycle lanes removed as people can now cycle in the traffic lane with all road users alerted to share the road. Footpaths could be widened. Landscaping increased to soften this urban scene.
Those who wish to drive to a short term on street park will have that option. Parking off of Victoria Street will be encouraged. Buses will retain their route.
Patrons of motels along Bealey Avenue would be encouraged to walk to the centre city, noting the dining and shopping options, benefiting Victoria Street merchants. Merchants will benefit by offering a tree lined space with reduced car congestion conducive to strolling, shopping and dining. As designed people will instead be overcome by fumes and noise with some left to witness the grim outcomes of unsafe road planning.
People are encouraged to walk, cycle, bus. Those who drive are encouraged to park off street. Once parked they may well linger.
Pollution is reduced and the area made far more attractive.
The Council undermines the community when it handpicks some stakeholders for early inclusion and allows them to set the focus for plans. This plan is a prime example of the failure a narrow focus achieves.
Current consultation disempowers the community as plans are rarely open to significant, if any, real change. Minor adjustments may be accommodated, but even this level of responsiveness is generally limited.
Consultation is undermined when documents and designs provided do not include basic information including cross sections for each lane treatment specifying widths for all modes. Safety audits need to be included online with all projects. This is basic information required for informed comment and consent. That it is not undermines Council’s credibility. Setting basic requirements for consultation documents is clearly needed.
Public works are long lived. They need to be planned for the future, not cater to the past. Council has committed to carbon reductions which will not be achieved if plans like this one continue to be offered and constructed.
Spokes invites Council to take this opportunity to embark on inclusive and empowering consultation. We remain willing to engage at the earliest stage of this plan’s redrafting.
Spokes Canterbury does not support this plan.